Elk en Croute with Fig Chutney & Holiday Elk Sausage with Pistachio
Courtesy of Chef John McGannon, wildeats.com
Elk en Croute with Fig Chutney
Sausage en Croute (in a pastry)
For each sausage log:
1 12x18-inch sheet of puff pastry
Egg wash: 1 egg yolk, splash of water, pinch of salt and sugar, mixed well
Remove the plastic wrap from the chilled sausage and cut in half lengthwise. Brush the puff pastry sheet with egg wash and place one half of the sausage on the sheet and roll until the sausage is covered by the pastry. Cut the dough and repeat with the other half. Place the seam side down on a parchment lined sheet pan. Brush the top with additional egg wash and place into a preheated 350° oven. Bake until golden brown, roughly 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest before cutting into small disks. To serve, skewer with a toothpick and top with fig chutney or spicy mustard.
Red Onion, Fig and Green Chili Chutney
1 lg red onion, diced small
18 dried figs, quartered
1 cup red wine (zinfandel, cabernet or syrah)
Juice and zest from 2 Meyer lemons (or substitute 1 lemon, 1 orange)
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp finely minced fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
4 tbsp honey
4 serrano or jalapeno chilies, seeds removed, finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Salt to taste
Place all ingredients in a stainless-steel pot, cover and simmer for one hour. Stir occasionally to avoid scorching. Adjust seasonings with salt and lemon juice to taste. This chutney will store for weeks under refrigeration.
Holiday Elk Sausage with Pistachio
Yields 12 lbs. of sausage: roughly 50 4-inch sausages (if you stuff into casings) or 10 2-inch x 12-inch logs.
5 lbs elk shoulders cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes
5 lbs. pork butt, 1- to 2-inch cubes|
2 lbs. pork fat, ½-inch cubes
6 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp crushed red chilies|
1 tbsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp ground black pepper
12 tbsp WildEats Lemon Garlic & Sage Rub with fennel or 6 tsp toasted fennel seeds
3 tbsp fresh minced garlic
Zest of 2 fresh lemons
1 bunch fresh sage leaves, chopped
Zest of a large orange
1 tbsp sugar
2 cups ice water
1 tsp curing salt (optional, but this helps to give a smooth texture)
2 cups, shelled pistachio nuts, slightly crushed
Trim all the fat and sinew from the elk meat. Keep fat on the pork. Cut elk and pork into uniform cubes. Measure out all the ingredients and add to the meat. Top it with the ice water and mix well. Cover and refrigerate over night, which allows the meat to cure before grinding and produces a nice smooth texture. If you grind the meat and then add the seasonings and cure, the sausage will have a grainy texture.
The next day, run the meat through the large ¼- or 3⁄16-inch grinding plate. Run it through twice if you want a smoother sausage. Fry up a sample of this sausage to check for correct seasonings. Everyone has a different palate, and this is the time to adjust to your taste.
Use an 18-inch length of plastic wrap and lay out 16-24 ounces of sausage across the wrap. Roll it up as tightly as you can, squeezing out any air pockets, and secure the ends with butcher’s twine. Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Add sausage and turn down heat to medium. Poach until just cooked through. Use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature, which should be 160° F (approximately 30 minutes). Remove from the water and cool quickly. Once chilled, you can store it in the freezer for later, cut into disks for grilling or frying, or wrap in puff pastry for an exceptional holiday treat.
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.