Chimichurri, sausages, and chili

Recipes by Chef Aaron Killian of Showthyme Act II | Photography by Hunter D’Antuono

Elk Chimichurri Makes four pounds or eight 8-ounce servings

This recipe is inspired from my trip to Argentina and the way they grill their steaks. I added a touch of Montana to my version. Serve this steak with your favorite style of potatoes and grilled veggies. There is no wrong way to pair this steak.

Ingredients:
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
½ cup brandy
2 cups chopped fresh parsley
½ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup chopped fresh oregano
½ cup chopped fresh garlic
¼ cup chopped fresh shallots
1 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. salt
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
4 lbs. elk (top sirloin, filet or striploin)

To make:
1. Chop all herbs into a large bowl.
2. Combine all ingredients except elk in a large bowl.
3. Reserve half of the marinade for later. Add the other half of marinade to elk portions. (I like to cut them into 6 oz. pieces.)
4. Cover elk with plastic wrap and let sit in refrigerator for at least four hours.
5. Take meat out and grill on the BBQ outside (with charcoal is the best way).
6. Serve however you eat steak temperature/doneness wise.
7. Use the marinade you reserved earlier to ladle on top of meat.

 

Elk Huckleberry Sausages Makes about 25 sausages

This recipe can be used to make sausage patties or links, depending on which you enjoy more. For links you will need to purchase hog casings and have a sausage stuffer at home.

Ingredients:
5 lbs. ground elk
1 lb. ground beef
1 lbs. ground pork (or turkey if you prefer)
1 oz. fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 ½ lbs. huckleberries
¼ cup kosher salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder

To make:
1. If the meat is not ground, you will need to run it through a meat grinder.
2. Once all the meat is mixed together, add all the other ingredients and mix very well with hands. (Your hands will get very cold, so stop a few times while doing this.)
3. If forming into patties, make them roughly ½ inch thick and 3 or 4 inches round.
4. If making links, soak the casings in warm water for at least 30 minutes.
5. Pipe the meat into the casings and twist them every 8 inches to form multiple links.
6. It’s recommended cooking sausage to an internal temperature of 165 degrees since there is pork and wild game involved. Grill the links or pan fry the patties.

 

Elk Chili Serves 10

This recipe is a sweeter version of chili I learned from my time in Alaska. You can find ground elk at Lower Valley Processing, or I’m sure you know someone with elk in their freezer.

Ingredients:
½ lb. yellow onion (diced)
2 large jalapeño peppers, or three small (diced)
8 cloves fresh garlic (minced)
2 lbs. fresh tomatoes (diced)
½ cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
½ cup dark chili powder
2 lbs. ground elk
1 cup pinto beans
1 cup beef stock

To make:
1. Cook elk on low heat to brown. Remove elk from pot.
2. Sauté onions, jalapeño and garlic in same pot used for elk.
3. Add brown sugar.
4. Add tomatoes, chili powder and cayenne.
5. Add elk back into pot and cook for 15 minutes on low heat.
6. Add some of the beef stock until desired thickness, then add salt to taste.

 

Chef Aaron Killian has worked all over the country for chefs such as Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck and Andy Blanton. Showthyme Act II in Bigfork opened in December 2018, serving international cuisine in an upscale yet casual setting.