Elk and Heart Stew

This is what we ate for dinner last night  – a hearty stew made from elk stew meat (really need to ask what cuts they use for this!) and some (grassfed) beef heart that I had in the freezer.

I have to say that it was absolutely delicious!  Rich, meaty, and satisfying

Elk meat does not need lots of cooking – in fact most of the time you need to serve it as rare as you can stomach it, but in this instance it can take a long cooking time (which is necessary to make the heart tender as this tends to be fairly tough)….  they key to having tender elk and tender heart is to keep the stew barely simmering for the long cooking time…  the long moist  cooking tenderizes the heart but prevents the elk from becoming tough and dry.

This is an AIP-friendly meal that includes organ meats (the heart), bone broth and lots of good-for-you veggies.  It does contain wine, but the alcohol will evaporate during the long cooking.  This can be left out if it is a problem for you, just replace it with an equal volume of bone broth.

If you can’t source elk meat, I am sure that this would work equally well with any of the tougher cuts of beef  or even bison. And you could probably make it out of all heart meat as well if you wanted to..  in fact I bet that would taste awesome!

Elk and Heart Stew

serves 6 with plenty of leftovers


  • 1lb elk stew meat
  • 1½lb grass-fed beef heart
  • 1-2 tbsp fat of your choice (I used bacon fat)
  • 2 large onions – chopped
  • 4 large carrots – peeled, trimmed and chopped into chunks
  • 3 large parsnips – peeled, trimmed and chopped into chunks
  • 2 sticks celery – cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic – peeled and crushed
  • 8oz mushrooms – quartered
  • 1 cup red wine (optional – replace with bone broth)
  • 3-4 cups bone broth (beef broth is ideal but use whatever you have on hand)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼tsp ground ginger
  • ½ cup fresh parsley – chopped
  • sea salt to taste

The first thing you need to do is to cut your elk meat and heart into cubes – about 1″ square, but you don’t need to be to finicky about out….  rough approximation is fine…  Season the meat with salt and pepper.

Melt your fat in a large, heavy-based pot over a medium-high heat, and add a few of the cubes of meat.  Don’t add them all at once, you want to sear (or brow) the meat, not stew it.  It is far better to do lots of small batches than one huge batch.  Sear the meat on all sides and then remove to a bowl.  Add more fat as you need to.

Once the meat is all seared, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onions, carrots, parsnip, celery and garlic. Toss and allow to soften for 5-10 minutes.  Now add the wine and deglaze any crusty, caremelized bits of the base of the pan.  Add the seared meat and any juices that have accumulated in the bowl, the broth, the mushrooms and all the herbs and spices and simmer on a very gentle heat for around 3 hours.

Do not allow the stew to boil or your meat will become tough.


Just before serving taste the stew and adjust the seasoning with extra salt as necessary.


I served this with a side of steamed broccoli and cauliflower, but you could use whatever veg you fancy.