Irish Elk Stew with Soda Bread

Twist on a Irish Classic Stew

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Growing up, we really only had good stews at our grandmother’s house. As I stated in earlier posts of my cooking, my mom was a bad cook (God Rest her Soul), we only ate soup out of cans at home.

It wasn’t until I was in the Army and traveling around that I started to have a greater appreciation for stews and soups. Some of my favorites have been stews around Europe, mostly tomato based Irish stews.

A great thing about stews are they don’t have to be made in large pots, or complicated. I think a lot of my friends don’t cook stew because they feel they need to make large pots of stew, but this episode shows how to cook a great stew in a cast iron pan (I am using my @smithey No. 12 pan), great meal for 2-3 people.

If you have the No 12 pan and griddle combo you can cook this meal in one pot, the griddle serves as a cover and a place to bake the bread.


For Stew:

  • 2 lbs. Elk Tenderloin
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 large carrot diced large
  • 1 parsnip diced large
  • 1/2 can roasted corn
  • 1 bottle Belgium White or Pale Ale
  • Salt, pepper, white pepper, paprika, adobo to taste
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

For Soda Bread:

  • 4 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cups butter milk
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 tbsp. salted butter cubed
  • 1/2 cup currants (optional)

To make the stew:

Cut the Elk tenderloin into 1 inch pieces, brine with salt and sit in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

In a cast iron on medium, sear your elk. When browned, move the elk to edges. Add in your garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Sauté until translucent, be sure not to burn. Add in your tomato paste, and seasoning, mix around until the elk is evenly covered. Add carrots, parsnip and corn, mix and add in your ale and diced tomatoes. Cover with the griddle, set on low and let simmer for 25 min.

Soda Bread:

While the stew is simmering take a large bowl, add your flour and cubed butter, using your hands blend until the butter is pea size. Add in the sugar, salt, baking soda, and currants. Mix until combined.

Add in the butter milk and blend until the flour is no longer dry. If still dry add more butter milk, too moist add more flour. Remove dough from bowl and kneed, be sure not to kneed too hard so that the dough is loose.

Place on the griddle, and cut a cross on the top (my grandmother said it was to help keep evil spirits away, but it is more to help the bread cook through). Brush with buttermilk to make the outside golden brown.

Place in the oven:

In a 375 degree oven, place the pan with the bread on top and cook for 25 min or until the bread is done. If the elk needs more time, remove the bread and let the stew cook for another 20 min.

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