Bourbon spiked Elk Gravy with Buttermilk biscuits
Courtesy of Chef John McGannon, wildeats.com
Nothing says home cooking like southern biscuits and gravy. I love them, but I’m originally from Yankee land, and I love pot pies, too. I combined the two concepts for an entree version of a breakfast classic with a little adult finish.
Bourbon spiked Elk Gravy
6 tbsp butter (or rendered bacon fat)
2 lbs. ground elk *
2 tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1 med onion, diced small
4 stalks celery, diced small
4 crushed cloves
Dash of nutmeg
1 tsp dried sage (or 2 tbsp freshly chopped)
1 bay leaf
¾ cup flour
2 quarts milk
3 oz. good quality bourbon (I like Maker’s Mark)
dash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
hot sauce of choice (optional)
zest of 1 orange
Preheat a heavy-gauge (stainless) saucepot. Add the bacon fat or butter and allow to melt. Add the ground elk, seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook through but do not brown. Stir onions, celery, garlic and seasonings into the meat. Add the flour and blend thoroughly. With a wooden spoon stir the meat/flour mix until there are no lumps. Allow to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the milk while stirring constantly. When the texture is smooth, turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 12-15 minutes. Remove any scum that forms on the top. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Finish with the bourbon and grated orange zest at the last minute.
You can add fresh seasonal vegetables like asparagus, mushrooms, spring onions, parsnips and various squash to the gravy mix. Serve with a nice garden salad, a good Pinot Noir or Burgundy and the rest of the Maker’s Mark for dessert.
* Be sure and allow the ground elk to sit in a colander overnight to drain excess blood.
2 cups all-purpose flour (extra for dusting)
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
7 tbsp. cold butter, cut into thin slices
¾ cup cold buttermilk, plus a little for brushing
Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of butter and flour mixture. Pour in 3⁄4-cup buttermilk and stir until just combined. Turn dough onto a floured work surface and pat together into a rectangle. Fold the rectangle in thirds. Turn dough a half turn, gather any crumbs, and flatten back into a rectangle. Repeat twice more, folding and pressing dough a total of three times. Roll dough on a floured surface to about ½-inch thick. Cut out 12 biscuits using a 2½-inch round biscuit cutter. Transfer biscuits to a parchment-lined baking sheet pan. Allow to rest for at least 1 hour (or overnight in the fridge). Brush the tops of biscuits with buttermilk. Bake in the preheated 425° F oven until browned, about 15 minutes.
John McGannon is chef/founder of Wildeats Enterprises, a life member of the RMEF, host of popular wild game cooking seminars at the foundation’s Elk Camp and a passionate hunter.