December 4, 2004

Elk Bolognese

My father recently gave me 3 packages wrapped in what looked like brown butcher paper labeled "dead elk stew." (Yeah, Pa's a little bit of a redneck...) Turns out, the brown butcher paper was actually a brown lunch sac (the french spelling adds class, you see...) and my dad had wrapped the meat himself in celophane inside the bag. So much for being thankful that he'd finally started taking his game to the butcher. (Okay, maybe a little bit more than a little redneck.)

I've never cooked with Elk, but given what I know about venison, buffalo, and other big game, I figured it would be, well "gamey." And, a little tough. So, what better to use it for than a bolognese sauce?

Impressed with my brilliant idea, I figured Google would save the day with a selection of recipes, but I was wrong.
What? Only 3 mentions on the whole Internet for Elk Bolognese? I tried "Elk Lasagna" and found a similar dearth.

At this point I figured I must have made some horrible mistake--how could I be one of the first people to think of elk as a substitute in this country-style italian recipe that has more variants than just about any other recipe I learned in Italy? So I looked into the nutritional properties of Elk. I decided that not only would it work, it would be the lowest cholesterol, healthiest lasagna I've ever made (not that this means anything except on the lasagna scale since I still use butter, pork, mozzerella, ricotta, and parmigiano).

Anyways, the moral of the story is, Elk meat chunks, buttressed with a little more ground pork than normal used as a replacement for veal, prosciutto, and chicken livers in a bolognese sauce--DELICIOUS!!!

The lasagna won accolades for the best I've ever made, which is particularly impressive because I used the no-boil barilla lasagna sheets instead of making the noodles by hand (my procrastination does have limits). The meat chunks fell apart in people's mouths and were flavorful but not gamey.

Okay, I really must study now.

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