Cajun Alfredo Pot Roast for Wild Game
A recipe shared by chef and author, Eileen Clarke
By Chef Eileen Clarke
I don’t know how much easier, or tastier, dinner can get. This is a stick-to-your-ribs, zesty, cold-weather, comfort-food dish made with your own elk, deer, caribou or antelope that doesn’t require a vast array of ingredients or great culinary skills. Why is this so good? Part of the reason is the Cajun Shake spice mix. The other reason this works is that moist, slow-cooking tenderizes wild meat but can leave it dry: wild meat needs a bit of fat, and the Alfredo Sauce does the trick.
Note that you’ll have extra Cajun Shake with this recipe, and it goes great on baked potatoes, fish, steak and chicken, as well as morning eggs and hash browns. If you don’t like the heat of Cajun cooking, substitute your own favorite Italian seasoning mix. Just be sure to add enough, approximately 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons—to sufficiently flavor the dish.
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2-4 lb. roast (deer, elk, antelope or caribou)
3 Tbls. oil
15 oz. jar commercial Alfredo sauce (I prefer Bertolli’s brand)
1 cup beef bouillon
1 ½ to 2 Tbls. Cajun Shake Mix*
1 lb. chopped potatoes
1 lb. baby carrots
Oil for browning
*Cajun Shake Mix Ingredients
2 ½ Tbls. sweet paprika
1 Tbls. garlic powder
1 Tbls. onion powder
1 Tbls. dried leaf thyme
1 Tbls. dried leaf oregano
1 Tbls. coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp. white pepper
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- Sprinkle the salt and pepper on the roast. In a skillet, brown on all sides of the meat in the oil over medium-high heat. In the meantime, add the Alfredo sauce, beef bouillon and 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of the Cajun Shake Mix to a 3-5 quart slow cooker. Then give it a good stir.
- Turn the slow cooker on high. When the meat is well browned, transfer it to the slow cooker and submerge it in the sauce. (The liquids should cover at least 3/4 of the roast. If not, double the liquids or cut the roast in half to sit lower in the sauce.)
- Cook on high for one hour, then reduce the heat to low and cook another 6-7 hours, turning the roast 2 or 3 times during cooking.
- About 2 hours before you want to eat, add the potatoes and carrots to the slow cooker and continue cooking until vegetables are tender. To serve, slice the pot roast thin, arrange with the potatoes and carrots on a plate, and spoon the sauce over all.
Three Tips from the Chef
Why it’s important to dry the game meat: What you want to do when you brown meat is to enrich the flavor. It’s called the Maillard Reaction—a chemical reaction between carbs and proteins in the meat (when you heat them) that produces a rich brown color and a caramelized and richer flavor. But if you don’t dry the meat before the browning, you’ll have a pile of gray bubbling liquid—and you are basically steaming the meat instead of caramelizing it – with no flavor gain. One of the things we all love about bacon is the caramelization–or sweetening–that happens when it cooks. Game meat doesn’t have the fat of bacon, but the Maillard reaction can still happen to a lesser extent—still enriching and improving the flavor of game meats. Simply set the roast on a couple of layers of paper towels, and press two more layers into the sides and top. Press with the palms of your hands to draw out the liquid, then let the roast sit in its paper towel wrap while you get the pan ready for browning.
Again, it’s that moisture you don’t want steaming the meat. A sloped-sided pan allows the liquid to evaporate away more easily than a straight sided pan. In this picture, you’ll notice there are no ugly, gray bubbles in this pan while the meat is cooking, and that the slope of the pan is pretty subtle.
To find more of guest columnist Eileen Clarke’s recipes check out her web site, www.riflesandrecipes.com. This Alfredo slow cooker recipe is from her cookbook titled Slice of the Wild, but there’s also an all-marinade, brine and rub cookbook that Chef Eileen has authored titled Tenderize the Wild, as well as a sausage book and one cookbook dedicated to upland birds. For more information, visit her site, or call 406-521-0273