Sierra Nevada Braised Elk Rouladen
Courtesy of Chef John McGannon, wildeats.com
As I write this article, it’s the end of September, and I am preparing some elk rouladen for my upcoming hunting trips. Rouladen is a German term and stems from the French word rouler, which means to roll. And as you may have guessed, we will be rolling meat around a hearty filling. It’s a terrific way to use those remaining pieces of bottom and eye rounds that are usually the last to leave your frozen cache.
The general rule about cooking the tougher cuts of meat is the slower the better. This is very important with lean cuts of wild game because they don’t have much internal fat to keep them moist. Slower cooking will also reduce shrinkage and produce a greater yield of your hard-earned harvest.
2 lbs ground elk meat, drained of blood
1½ lbs ground pork
1⁄2 cup of each of the following—onions, carrots, cabbage, celery—finely diced, sautéed in a olive oil and cooled
2 tbsp fresh garlic
1 cup chopped pickles
4 tbsp Juniperberry & Peppercorn Steak Rub or chopped juniper berries
1½ cups dried breadcrumbs
3 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp kosher or sea salt
Mix all of the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl and hold in the refrigerator until needed.
Elk Meat Wrappers
12—5-6 oz pieces of bottom or eye round, butterfly cut
1⁄2 cup of your favorite mustard
flour for dusting
oil for browning
Lay the meat on a cutting board and cover with food wrap. Using a mallet gently pound the meat until just under ¼” thick. Try to keep the pieces uniform.
Once all the meat is pounded, brush each piece with mustard. Place about 1⁄2 cup of the filling in the center of the meat flaps. Roll each of the meat flaps around the filling, forming a cylinder. Once done with stuffing/rolling, secure each roll with butchers twine.
Heat oil in a large, heavy-gauge braising pot. Lightly dust each rouladen with salt, pepper and flour. Brown each piece until they are all golden brown, then set them aside. Using the same pan you will now create the braising sauce.
Saute 1 cup of onions, carrots, celery and 2 tbsp fresh garlic.
3 Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or similar brew
1 small can of tomato paste
1 qt of beef or game stock (or bouillon)
2 bay leaves
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary
Bring this to boil, add the browned elk rouladens. Lower the heat to simmer. Cover and gently cook until tender (2-3 hours).
Remove the meat when tender. Continue to slowly reduce the sauce by half to concentrate the flavors, skimming the scum that forms on top. Strain the sauce, adjust the seasoning and serve with the rouladens. Or cover the rouladens, cool and freeze to serve at a later time.
This dish really doesn’t need any more flavor. But just for fun, we’ve posted a dried cherry and onion jam
at our website to complement this dish.
John McGannon is a RMEF life member, host of wild game cooking seminars at Elk Camp and owner of WildEats Enterprises.