Black Pepper Crusted Elk on Cheese Grits

I was able to come across some Elk meat while visiting family in Wyoming. I received a back hind leg of Elk. This section will yield several cuts of meat. This includes ground meat for burgers, a roast for the smoker, sausage meat, and some steaks. The whole ride back I thought about what dishes I would prepare with the meat and this dish is one such result. This recipe is similar to a dish you might find in a restaurant versus my past campfire cuisine. You can play around with the ingredients to get the exact flavor you crave. This seemed the proper combination of ingredients on the day that I prepared this dish.

The dish will serve four people a hearty meal.

White Cheddar Cheese Grits
For this portion of the dish, I chose to use instant grits. Although, not using regular grits may be frowned upon in many circles, I made my choice on the side a time restraint. I will leave the choice up to you as to which type of grits you use.

Ingredients:
– 4 servings of prepared grits
– 3 cups medium white cheddar cheese, finely grated
– ¼ cup whole milk

Preparation:
– Cook the grits following the instructions on the package
– Combine the warm grits, finely grated cheese, and the whole milk
– Thoroughly mix with a wire whisk

Woodear Béchamel Sauce

Ingredients:
– 1 shallot, minced
– 2 large Woodear mushroom bunches (or a substituting mushroom), roughly diced
– 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
– ¼ cup room temperature butter
– 2 ¼ cups room temperature whole milk
– 1 tablespoon garlic powder
– 2 tablespoons salt

Preparation:
РSaut̩ the mushrooms and shallots in the butter until the mushrooms are tender in a large saut̩ pan
– Stir in the flour, salt, and garlic powder
– Continue to stir until the flour begins to brown
– Slowly whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce begins to thicken
– The sauce should be as thick as a white gravy
– Once the optimal thickness has been reached, remove from pan to prevent from over cooking

Black Pepper Crusted Elk

Ingredients:
– 1 lbs. Elk meat, cubed
– 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper corns
– 1 tablespoon salt
– 1 tablespoon oil or butter
– 4 thyme sprigs

Preparation:
– Heat a large Cast Iron Skillet on high heat
– Add oil or butter
– While heating the skillet, coat the Elk in the ground black pepper and sprinkle with salt
– Once the pan begins to smoke, add the coated Elk meat and Thyme sprigs
– Quickly sear the meat on each side

Once each item is complete, serve the Elk on the cheese grits topped with the mushroom sauce. I paired the Elk with sautéed squash and shallots.

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