Starting out working with wild game, I only wanted to master the idea of a perfectly cooked steak. Each type of wild game has a different level of “doneness” to be considered perfect. Proteins like deer and elk are best served medium rare or even rare. Cooking a deer or elk steak to well done brings out what many people call the “gameyness” of wild game. Pronghorn is best well done.
After experimenting with many different wild game steaks and many levels of “doneness,” my curiosity started to grow. I wanted to try substituting wild game in for some of my favorite meals, like lasagna or chicken parmesan, and see how the wild game fared.
The experiments slowly evolved over time and I started manipulating sauces, cooking techniques, and ingredients to complement the wild game meats I was working with. The meals grew in complexity from simply the perfect steak to dishes like this 505 Southwest Elk Wellington.
I actually entered this recipe in a contest for 505 Southwest sauces. The challenge was to create a dish using their canned chiles and sauces. I received an honorable mention!
505 Southwest Elk Wellington
∙ 1 and a half pound elk tenderloin, trimmed and cut to fit puff pastry length (could also use deer, pronghorn, or beef)
∙ 4 Tablespoons olive oil
∙ 1 medium onion, minced
∙ 1 medium shallot, minced
∙ 1 medium jalapeno, minced
∙ ¾ cup white button mushrooms, minced
∙ 16 oz jar 505 Flame Roasted Green Chile
∙ 2 teaspoons cinnamon
∙ 1 package puff pastry sheet
∙ 1 egg
∙ 8 ounces cream cheese
∙ 16 oz jar 505 Red Chile Enchilada Sauce
∙ Cilantro and Cotija cheese to garnish
1. Cut elk tenderloin to the length of puff pastry, wrap tightly in cling wrap, and chill in fridge overnight.
2. Heat cast iron skillet over high heat and remove cling wrap from elk tenderloin. Salt and pepper tenderloin, add two tablespoons oil to the pan, and sear tenderloin over high heat for 30-60 seconds per side, browning the outside but leaving the inside rare. Set tenderloin aside to cool completely.
3. Turn skillet to medium-low heat and add minced onion and shallot. Cook for five minutes. Add minced jalapeno and cook an additional two minutes. While minced onions, shallots, and jalapenos are cooking, finely chop white button mushrooms.
4. Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil to pan in addition to chopped mushrooms and cook for five minutes, releasing the juices from the mushrooms.
5. Turn the heat up to high and add the jar of 505 Flame Roasted Green Chile and cinnamon. Cook on high heat for 15 minutes until all the juices have evaporated from the mushrooms and chiles. A thick paste should remain. Be sure to stir the mixture to keep it from burning. Remove the paste from the heat and allow to cool completely.
6. Lay a large sheet of cling wrap, big enough to wrap the entire tenderloin, and place the prosciutto onto the cling wrap in a single layer that overlaps so you can easily use the prosciutto to wrap the mushroom green chile paste around the tenderloin.
7. Spread the mushroom green chile paste evenly over the prosciutto. Place the beef tenderloin in the center of the prosciutto then use the edges of the cling wrap to tightly pull the green chile mixture around the tenderloin. Chill in fridge for thirty minutes.
8. Roll the puff pastry out so it is large enough to wrap around the tenderloin, about a ¼ in thickness. Brush the surface with an egg wash. Remove plastic wrap from the tenderloin and place in the center of the puff pastry. Wrap puff pastry completely around tenderloin, leaving no openings.
9. Brush the outside of the puff pastry with more egg wash and then wrap in cling wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
10. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
11. Place the elk wellington on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until top is golden brown.
12. While the wellington is baking, prepare the red chile enchilada cream sauce. In a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat add the jar of 505 Red Chile Enchilada Sauce and the cream cheese. Heat until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is lump free, about five to seven minutes.
13. To serve, cut a slice of the 505 Southwestern Elk Wellington. Top with a generous spoonful of the enchilada cream sauce, a sprinkle of fresh minced cilantro, and some crumbled cotija cheese.
Lindsey Bartosh, an eighth-generation Moab girl, loves hiking, hunting, fishing, cooking, writing, photography and working on her website www.huntingandcooking.com.