Truth be told, I get bored using traditional cuts of meat for popular dishes. I mean when you harvest an elk, you have a ton of meat, but sometimes you don’t have the right cut for the dish you want to serve up. So what do you do?
I was inspired by a dish referred to as a Braciola. It sounds fancy, but in reality it’s simply thinly sliced meat that’s stuffed, rolled, tied and then lightly fried. Once that process is completed, it’s then placed in a sauce to finish cooking.
Instead of using a popular cut such as a flank steak, I used a sharp knife and sliced a one and a half pound chunk of elk bottom round into 4 thin sheets of meat. I then pounded each slice with a meat tenderizer to thin out the slices so I could easily stuff and tie each one. I used ingredients that I had on hand stuffing each one, but you can always substitute with other optional ingredients.
- 1 ½ pounds Elk bottom round
- ¾ cup Italian style breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 onion, diced
- 10-12 brussel sprouts, sliced thin
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 3 cups tomato sauce or marinara sauce
- salt and pepper
- butchers twine
- Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the elk bottom round roast into 4 thin sheets of meat, about 1/2 inch thick. Using a meat tenderizer, gently pound the meat reducing the thickness to roughly 1/4 inch thick. Season both sides of the meat slices with a salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of butter, onions, garlic and brussel sprouts cooking until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Blend the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
- Lay the meat slices out and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over each one. Add a layer of the onions and brussel sprouts on top and the add the slices of mozzarella cheese. Starting at the shorter end, roll up the steak to enclose the filling and tie with butchers twine.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the remaining butter. Add the braciole to the skillet and cook until browned on all sides, about 2 minutes per side or 8 minutes total. Add the tomato sauce or marinara sauce to the skillet and cover partially with a piece of foil. Remove from heat.
- Set the cast iron skillet in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 30 minutes or until the meat is tender. (NOTE: You can also add 1/2 cup of dried orzo pasta to the sauce when you remove the foil and continue cooking the remainder of the time.)
- Remove the braciole from the skillet along with the butchers twine. Slice and serve.
I hope this idea for using alternative cuts of game meat inspires you for crafting up new dishes for your family and friends. – Enjoy… I know we did!