On cold nights, nothing warms you and your family up quite like a hot, flavorful elk stew. But, with how busy life can get, finding the time to make a slow-cooked dinner may feel like more of a dream than a reality. But, never fear; elk stew is here.
Thanks to pressure cooking technology, you can make the stew of your dreams in a fraction of the time slow-cooking methods require. And just because you’re making elk stew faster, that doesn’t mean you’ll lose any of the tenderness you’ve come to expect from slow cooking. Plus, the garlic, tomato, and wine-infused broth will keep you coming back for more — we’ve even had some for breakfast.
If you don’t own a pressure cooker, they’re becoming more reasonably priced than ever before. And if you hunt for a deal around any holiday, you can usually pick one up for a bargain-bin price. However, if you don’t yet own a pressure cooker, we’ll include tips so you can enjoy our recipe with the gear you already have.
- 2 pounds of elk stew meat
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (non-extra virgin) Use vegetable, grapeseed, or any other high smoke point oil if you’re not using a pressure cooker
- 1 red onion chopped
- 3 medium carrots quartered
- 2 sweet potatoes cubed
- 4 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1.5 teaspoon red pepper
- 3 teaspoons herbs de province (Italian seasoning works in a pinch)
- 4 garlic cloves minced
Note: We tend to like our stews a bit spicier; feel free to omit any spices that don’t suit your tastes.
Cooking Appliances for Pressure Cooking
- Pressure Cooker (At least 6-quart size)
Cooking Appliances for Slow Cooking
Step One: Prep Work
For each vegetable listed above, wash it and prep it before you start cooking so that you’re always ready for the next step. Nothing’s worse than scrambling to dice an onion when you’re supposed to be moving to the next phase of a recipe. After the vegetables are taken care of, get ready to prepare your elk stew meat.
Most elk stew meat you find will come with silvery sinew still attached — this is fat. Get a sharp knife and cut off the larger strands.
Now, get your tools hot. If you’re using a pressure cooker, add the olive oil and hit the saute button — the standard 30-minute interval is acceptable. If you’re going the skillet route, put it on your stove, add oil, and turn the heat up to medium-high. As noted above, use a high smoke point oil if you’re not using a pressure cooker.
Step Two: Browning the Elk Stew Meat
Grab your prepped meat and toss it into your pre-heated cooking device. The goal here is to get a nice brown across all the little nuggets of stew meat in your pressure cooker or skillet. Why do you want to brown the meat, you might ask?
Browning meat creates the Maillard reaction where heat affects the chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars. In laymen’s terms, this step adds rich, robust flavor. Once you’ve browned the meat, set it aside in a large bowl or whatever you have available.
Step Three: Add Your Veggies (Except Potatoes) and Spices
Drop your onion, shallots, celery, garlic, salt carrots, peppery cayenne, red pepper, and herbs de province into the instant pot or the skillet. Now, saute them until the onions start to soften, or about two to three minutes.
Step Four: Spill the Wine
Pour your red wine into the instant pot insert or skillet and deglaze the pot with the vegetables still inside. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any of the brown bits off the bottom of your skillet or instant pot. These tasty burnt morsels add an incredible depth of flavor to your broth. Let the alcohol in the wine cook off for about three or four minutes.
Step Five: Combine Everything and Cook
Add your browned elk stew meat, vegetable broth, and tomato paste into the instant pot and give it a good stir. Use the manual pressure cook function to set your cook time to 15 minutes, then let the pressure cooker naturally release for 5 minutes. After you’ve waited, turn the quick-release valve and dispatch any remaining pressure.
If you’re using a crockpot, add the browned elk stew meat and potatoes into the pot and set it on high. Cook for anywhere between two or three hours; it just depends on how soft your want your potatoes. Elk meat is safe to eat when heated to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking it to above 150 degrees Fahrenheit will dry the meat out because of how lean it is.
Step Six: The Final Touches
After you’ve released any remaining pressure from the pressure cooker, add your potatoes and rest the rosemary sprigs at the top of the pot. Put the top back on and turn the valve back to the closed position. Set the pressure cooker to cook for two minutes. After that, use the quick-release valve to release the pressure. Twist the top off and scoop your stew into a bowl. Serve with your favorite bread to soak up the broth.
After making it this far, you’re sure to see that using a pressure cooker speeds up the process of cooking your elk stew meat. But, you won’t sacrifice the quality of your meal either. Pressure cooking has rewarded me with the most tender elk stew meat I’ve ever eaten. But no matter how you decide to make the stew, we think you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.
Be sure to visit our Elk Meat for Sale page to stock up on elk stew meat, tenderloins, and all different manner of delicious game meat.