We were recently, and very generously given some elk meat. A little background here, we’ve been making a conscious effort to eat “real” food from good sources, and that includes wild game from friends! It includes a lot of other things, but we’ll go into that another time. If you’ve ever cooked with elk, you know it’s a very lean red meat with a mild gamey flavor. Elk meat is very high in protein, and low in calories and fat. It’s also very high in vitamin B-12 and being free range, doesn’t have any added hormones or chemicals. Overall, it’s an excellent meat to have in your diet.
Now, all that being said, cooking with elk is a lot different that cooking with beef or pork. There’s very little fat and/or marbling in the meat, so you have to take that into consideration when preparing it. While I love a good elk steak, a lot of the cuts are excellent for things like chili and stew, where it has the opportunity to break down and get nice and tender.
One of the packages of meat was trimmed chunks from various other cuts, so not the best pieces. I took the whole package and put it in a large stock pot, covered with water, and let it simmer for a few hours. Once it started to get tender, I drained off the water and let the meat cool enough to handle. I cut it up into small bite sized chunks and set aside. I chopped 2 onions and a bunch of garlic and added it to the stock pot to saute. Once they got soft, I added the meat back in and just covered the mixture with water. Now I added tons of chili powder, garlic salt, cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, and black pepper. I simmered this over low heat for 30-45 minutes. This lets all those spices really get into the meat before adding the tomato. I tasted and corrected the seasonings, then added a large can of chopped tomatoes, a can of Rotele, and a can of pinto beans. I simmered all of this together for another 2 hours over low, keeping an eye on the liquid level and adding a bit of water here and there.
That’s it. Pretty easy, and absolutely delicious. We ate that chili up in just a couple of days, and it was really tasty and satisfying. You can serve it with avocado, cheese, cilantro, green onion, sour cream, pickled onions, or whatever else you fancy.