When I learned that Foodbuzz would sponsor my perfect meal, team up with Electrolux to raise awareness about ovarian cancer, and donate $250 to Ovarian Cancer Research Fund on my behalf, I thought: PERFECT WIN-WIN. And so I dedicate this blog post to survivors of ovarian cancer (in admiration of your strength and resilience) and the State of Colorado (in gratitude for providing me with a bounty of ingredients about which to blog).
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The decision was easy to make. Colorado is a tremendous food-producing state and, as you may have read before, I get a great deal of my produce from my very own garden in Denver. The elk came from Grande Elk Farm in Del Norte. The eggs and cream came from Grant Family Farms in Wellington. The wines from Mesa County. Everything else came from somewhere in between, thanks to In Season Market.
Thanks for reading. I'll take this as my final opportunity to wish you and your loved ones good ovarian health.
Braised Colorado Elk Roast
Elk, as it turns out, is an extremely lean meat, even when it is farm-raised. So don't be afraid of the butter and bacon fat that is left in the pot. It is insignificant in the whole scheme of this roast, much needed given the leanness of the elk, and just plain delicious. If you are fat-phobic, feel free to skim the fat off the top of the broth before boiling it down to serve.
3-4 lb elk shoulder
10 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
2 large onions, chopped
1/2 lb cherry smoked bacon, diced
10 anaheim peppers, roasted, skinned, and diced
2 tbsp butter (unsalted)
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 bottles black ale (I used New Belgium Brewery's 1554, robust and sweet)
3 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
Place one chopped onion and 4 minced cloves of garlic in a gallon ziplock bag with elk shoulder. Pour both bottles of black ale into the bag and seal it. Place the bag in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours, rotating once or twice every few hours, to make sure everything is well-mixed.
Preheat oven to 225 degrees F and arrange the rack so that the dutch oven can fit into the oven with its lid on. Remove the elk from the bag. Reserve the liquids from the bag by pouring it through a sieve into a bowl. Set liquids aside and discard the solids. Liberally salt and pepper the elk. Mix the cumin and chili powder in a small bowl and rub all over the elk. Set the elk aside. Melt the butter in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat and saute the remaining garlic in the butter. Add the bacon, stirring, till the bacon is just barely starting to get cooked. Place the elk into the dutch oven to brown on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the elk and set aside on a plate. Saute the remaining chopped onion in the bacon fat. Remove the onion and set aside. Slowly add some of the reserved liquids from the ziplock bag to deglaze the dutch oven. Put the elk back into the dutch oven, adding also the onion, peppers, and tomatoes. Stir the mixture, place the lid onto the dutch oven, and put the dutch oven into the preheated oven. Cook for about 3 hours, turning the elk every hour.
Remove from oven and place the dutch oven on the stovetop. Remove the elk to a cutting board while the remaining liquids boil, about 10 minutes. Squeeze the lime into the beer broth. Add salt and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper to the elk-beer broth. While that is boiling, slice the elk thinly, against the grain. Serve the elk with the beer broth. I highly recommend using dirty mashed potatoes to sop up some of that beer broth as well.