Elk NetworkElk Burgundy

Carnivore's Kitchen | October 4, 2018

  • Serves 4-6
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 3 hours

Bourguignon, also referred to as Burgundy, is a dish that is a well-known recipe and can be said to be a standard in French cuisine. Traditionally made with cuts of beef braised in dry red wine, beef broth, garlic and then complimented with pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon.  Julia Child has even described the dish as “certainly one of the most delicious dishes concocted by man” in her cookbook – “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.  And with the list of ingredients used to craft this rich and full-bodied dish, I’d have to agree with her.

Instead of using beef, I prefer to use Elk when serving this meal. I have used various cuts including the bottom round, top round, eye of round, but one of my most valued and favorite cuts to use is the backstrap.

Why use the backstrap you might ask? Well because it’s a tender cut of meat which continues to stay tender when using the cooking method known as braising.

Braising is a process that first combines searing or browning the meat at a high temperature which helps to enhance all of its natural flavors. Then once browned, the meat is added to a pot and flavored with liquid such as wine and beef broth and then covered and cooked at a very low temperature until it can be cut with a fork.  The liquid reduces and creates a rich sauce or what some refer to as gravy. 

I like to think of my version of this Bourguignon or Burgundy as an expansion to the culinary French cuisine that seems to be fit for a King or Queen. Since I prefer to use elk meat in place of beef, I also prefer to use combination of liquids including red wine, beef broth and brandy which adds a subtle hint of sweetness to an already rich and full-bodied dish.

Serve this Elk Burgundy to family and friends over mashed potatoes or all on its own with sliced French bread. Garnish with a few chopped green onions.


• 2 – 2 ½ pounds elk backstrap, cut into 1 inch cubes
• 4 slices thick bacon, coarsely chopped
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 shallot, finely chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 4 tablespoons flour
• 2 cups beef stock
• 2 cups red wine, cabernet or
• 1 cup brandy
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 sprig of thyme
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 16 oz mushrooms, sliced
• 1 cup pearl onions, skin removed
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 4 green onions, chopped


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat Dutch oven pot (7 quart) over medium-high heat and cook bacon until lightly browned. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Leave bacon drippings in the pot. Sear cubed elk meat in bacon drippings until browned on all sides. Do this in batches so not to over crowd the pan. Remove meat and set aside.

Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add meat back to Dutch oven with onions. Sprinkle flour over meat and stir to coat. Place in oven uncovered for 5 minutes. Stir meat and continue to bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Add bacon, beef stock, brandy, red wine and tomato paste over meat mixture and gently stir combining ingredients. Add the thyme sprig and cover with a lid. Place pot in oven and bake for 2 ½ -3 hours.

An hour before the dish is complete, melt butter in a pan over medium-high heat and sauté mushrooms until browned. Add mushrooms and pearl onions to meat mixture and continue to bake in oven for remaining time or until the meat is tender. Remove from oven and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Serve the Elk Burgundy over mashed potatoes or all on its own with sliced French bread. Garnish with chopped green onions.