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Fancy Simple Elk Stew

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Although my Norwegian husband has now been living in the United States for nearly seven years, every now and then he has a craving for dishes from his homeland that include moose, elk, or reindeer. Though my mother-in-law isn’t known for her cooking, she does make one outstanding dish: a reindeer stew that is worth the trip to the land of vikings.

I know how much my husband misses his homeland, and I’ve been on a kick this year to expand my repertoire in the kitchen. So on a recent trip to our local butcher where I found elk meat, I found a chance to put a smile on the hubby’s face and try something new.

I remembered making a French-style beef stew years ago that called for marinating the meat overnight in good red wine. Without a specific recipe but with the same approach, I concocted a tender, tasty, and surprisingly light elk stew. My husband loved it. I just wish my in-laws could have been at the table when I served it.

This recipe requires an overnight marinating, so plan ahead. Enjoy!

Serves: 3 or 4*

*With Norwegians at the table, you might want to double the recipe. They eat a lot. And never gain weight. Harumf!


1 pound elk meat cut for stew (or any other venison you’d like to try)

1 bottle (750 ml) of Cabernet Sauvignon wine

Two or three cloves of garlic, crushed

Two or 3 leeks, chopped into 1-inch pieces

2 cups chopped carrots

2 cups of chopped celery

2 tablespoons fresh, chopped thyme

Two bay leaves

Salt and Pepper to taste

Water or beef broth


1. Put the meat, wine, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme, and bay leaves into a ceramic bowl. Gently toss to cover everything. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.

2. The next day, place the ingredients in a deep saucepan. Make sure that the wine level is about two inches above the meat mixture.

3. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir occasionally, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add water or beef broth as necessary (because the wine will evaporate) and to taste.

4. Once cooked, let the stew stand at room temperature for a couple of hours. Skim off any fat and discard.

5. Reheat before eating. Serve with steamed rice or potatoes.


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