Traditional Elk Stew
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp canola oil
1 ½ cups finely chopped yellow onion (about 2 medium-sized)
1 cup celery (1/4 inch diced)
½ cup carrots (1/4 inch diced)
2 cloves garlic, chopped medium-fine
1 tsp dry thyme leaves, or 5-6 fresh sprigs tied together
1/2 tsp finely chopped dry rosemary leaves, or about 1 tsp freshly chopped
1 bay leaf 1/3 cup (packed) medium-fine chopped parsley
2 tbsp flour
5 cups stock (use 2 1/2 cups stock and 2 1/2 cups of water if hearty stock is being used)
1 1/2 to 2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 to 4 tbsp canola oil
3 lbs elk (1 inch stew cubes) 1/2 cup dry red or white wine 1/2 cup water
Using a 6 to 8 quart Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil.
Add the onion, celery, and carrot to the Dutch oven. Reduce heat slightly and sauté for 15 to 20 minutes, or until vegetables are noticeably brown. Do not allow the vegetables to blacken.
All at once, add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and parsley. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes or just until the garlic begins to brown. Sprinkle in flour, stir to combine. Immediately blend in the stock, or stock and water combination. Reduce burner to lowest setting.
Add canola oil to a separate large saucepan or skillet. Heat oil over medium-high heat. When hot add stew chunks. Do not over crowd, cook in 2 or 3 batches if necessary. Let meat chunks sear for 2 to 3 minutes per side before turning. Each batch of browning will take about 8 to 10 minutes or so. No need to rush. Get the meat chunks a nice dark brown for best flavor. Add the browned stew meat to the Dutch oven. Between batches immediately deglaze the hot pan with a liquid combination of 1/4 cup wine and 1/4 cup water. Use a food whip to combine the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with the liquid. No additional heat should be necessary; deglazing should only take a minute or two. Add deglazed liquid to the Dutch oven.
Remove from burner and snuggly seal the top of the Dutch oven with a layer of aluminum foil. use two sheets cross-wise if necessary. Cover and cook in a 275F oven for 4 hours. If using, remove fresh thyme sprigs.
Serve with vegetables of choice. This traditional elk stew reheats and freezes well.