This recipe and photos are courtesy of Cynthia Detterick-Pineda of Andrews, TX. More of Cynthia's
After spending almost 15 years as a vegetarian (five of those years as Vegan), I
was disappointed to learn that due to health issues I would need to consume
a greater amount of proteins and amino acids. Eating meat was something
which I had to literally re-learn. My childhood remembrances of eating “wild
game” meats was not something I thought I would ever consider when I took up
the life of an omnivore once again, but I found several of the wild game
meats to be much more palatable than what I had remembered them to be,
specifically Elk and Bison. Since we do not live in an area which is the
habitat of either of these, I do not get the opportunity to consume wild
nearly as much as many other meats that you find in your local
grocery. There are numerous websites however that do sell both Elk and
Bison, along with numerous other meats which are labeled exotic. So if
you ever do feel like walking on the wild side for a meal, I would
definitely recommend you first start out with Elk.
Elk is one of the lowest fat red meats that can be found. It is lower in fat and
cholesterol than beef, chicken, turkey, and pork. It also has a wonderful
rich taste that likens it to a good piece of beef. It is incredibly high in
iron, and can be used any way that beef can be used. This is a very simple
Elk recipe which comes from my husband’s grandmother, Felipa Barrera.
I took the liberty of adding a different spice as a dry rub than the salt, pepper,
and chiles which she uses, but the result is virtually identical to her
recipe. We were lucky enough to have this last month while visiting my
husband’s grandparent’s home in New Mexico. A neighbor had taken down an Elk
not long before our visit, and with Elk being rather large animals, had
Photo on the left is Felipa Barrera, my husband's
grandmother who lives in New Mexico.
She is 93 years old and still does all the cooking in her home, so she must
be eating something right!
Cooked Elk Meat
Yields: 6 servings
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 min
1 pound Elk meat, cubed (Bison, Venison, and even beef or pork can be substituted)
1 (31.2-ounce) package Achiote Rojo*
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (omit if using beef)**
1/2 cup warm water or vegetable stock
Pipian sauce (also available in most markets in the ethnic food aisle)***
Rojo is a blend of Mayan spices most commonly used for the dish Cochinita
Pibil (Cochinita is a suckling pig; Pibil is Mayan for to bury). It is a
flavorful combination of annatto, Mexican oregano, cumin, clove, cinnamon,
black pepper, allspice, garlic and salt. Usually available at most large
grocery stores in the ethnic food section.
requires the vegetable oil to be added since it is such a lean meat. If you
are using beef, pork or any other meat with a higher fat content, the meat
will sear well without adding any extra oil.
Pipian sauce is a piquant
Mexican sauce made of
ground pumpkinseeds, nuts, spices, and chiles.
It is part of a larger family of
ground sauces known as moles. This sauce is also called
Green Pumpkinseed Sauce. Usually available at most large grocery stores
in the ethnic food section.
Cut meat into 1-inch
square cubes. In a large bowl, toss the cut-up meat with the Achiote Rojo to
coat. Cover and place in refrigerator for approximately 20 minutes.
In a cast-iron Dutch
oven, or a large frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high
heat. Add the cubed meat and sear it quickly, turning so all sides are
Adjust heat to low and add water or vegetable stock, stirring to
mix. Allow to simmer over low heat for 1 hour, stirring only once or twice
in this time and checking to make certain there is adequate liquid in the
pan to keep the meat from sticking and burning the bottom. When done,
remove from heat.
over rice. Also makes a good breakfast meat served with eggs.
Serves about 6.