Along the Grapevine

Elk Filet with Highbush Cranberry Wine Sauce


As I continue to learn about the abundance and variety of wild edibles in our area, it is only reasonable that this knowledge should affect my cooking and menu planning. What better time to develop a really special recipe with some of the under-used ingredients than a holiday like Christmas. There’s no rule saying I have to prepare a turkey, or anything else for that matter, so for our celebration I bought elk filets wrapped in elk bacon – an easy option and very elegant. All I needed was a marinade and sauce to make this lean meat worthy of a special occasion.


While foraging in my freezer, I found some cranberry sauce I made some time ago. I thought the acidity of this sauce would be perfect for a marinade, and the tartness of the berries a perfect accompaniment for wild game of any sort. From there on my task as chef was easy.

For marinading six filets, I combined 1/4 cup oil, 2 tsp. highbush cranberry sauce, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 2 cloves garlic and 1/4 cup red wine.


Pour the marinade over the meat and allow to stand about three hours, flipping half way through. Meanwhile, for the sauce, melt 1 Tbsp each of butter and olive oil, 1/2 cup red wine, 2 Tbsp highbush cranberry sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the mixture until it has reduced by half, then add 1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water. Heat until cooked through and thickened.

Fry the filets in a hot skillet for about 2 minutes on each side (depending on thickness and how you prefer them) and spoon the sauce over them.


Served with brussels sprouts roasted with sumac powder, potatoes mashed with olive oil, garlic and parsley, it was a deliciously local and refined mix of flavours.

Linked to Fiesta Friday #100



Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

20 thoughts on “Elk Filet with Highbush Cranberry Wine Sauce

  1. What a gorgeous festive dish, Hilda! It looks perfect for Christmas! Hope you had a wonderful celebration!!


  2. Elk filets – how special for a holiday meal. I have had deer meat before (son-in-law is an avid hunter) but never elk. The two may vary in size but not in the flavor of the meat. Great sauce for this gamey meat. Thanks for bringing this to the BIG 100 celebration at Fiesta Friday. Happy Holidays…


  3. What a wonderful dish, Hilda. Happy FF#100 and enjoy your weekend! 🙂 xx


  4. They look amazing! I’ve never had elk before, but I love the idea of those fillets wrapped in elk bacon, they look and sound too delicious! Thank you so much for bringing them along to our very special Fiesta Friday celebrations!
    Happy Holidays!
    Ginger x


  5. Hilda what a gorgeous meal, thank you for bringing such a wonderful meal to the party.


  6. That looks totally tasty! Where did you find the elk filets?


    • Funny you should ask. I do a lot of my grocery shopping (for wild meat, fish and fowl) at a gas station which is on a reserve. The people on the reserve are allowed to hunt and fish more than the rest of us, so I rely on them to do all the hard work for me. It is an odd place to pick up such delicacies. They mostly sell tobacco and fireworks, but for those of us who know to look in their well stocked fridges, it is a goldmine.


  7. Love the savory use of cranberries and sumac in the mash. Interesting.


  8. I can spot you a mile away. I was hovering over the entries in FF too see who was posting what, and before I hovered over yours, just from the title I knew you were the chef. Wonderful. I’ve eaten elk once and I very much liked it. This dish feels so wintery, warming and festive. And I love saying “Highbush” Happy Holidays to you!


  9. Hilda, that sounds divine! I hope you had a lovely holiday feast. Happy New Year!


  10. What a beautiful dish, Hilda! I hope you have a great start to 2016!


  11. This is such a wonderful looking dish. Happy New Year!


  12. Hilda, what a gorgeous feast – the elk alone, but that cranberry wine sauce sounds incredible! Happy New Year and Happy Fiesta Friday!! I’m pinning this to the FF Board just in case no one has yet!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s