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Elk Tenderloin with Walnut Pesto, Sweet Potato Puree and Roasted Cauliflower

ELK TENDERLOIN WITH WALNUT PESTO, SWEET POTATO PUREE AND ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

I was given some elk from a friend as I'd never tried it. I knew I wanted to showcase it with earthy, roasted flavours, full of textures. There are a lot of components to this dish, but I think together, they sing. This is something you make for a special occasion or when you want to show someone you care to make the effort.

Here's what you'll need

  • 4 elk tenderloin medalions (out of the fridge once you start cooking)
  • 1 whole head garlic
  • ¼ cup prunes
  • 1 cup walnuts (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ lemon (juice and zest)
  • ¼ cup feta
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (cut into florets)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 medium tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 or 3 sprigs of green onions to garnish (thinly sliced)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. start with the pesto: wrap the whole head of garlic in foil and bake in a preheated 350° oven for about half an hour or until completely soft and nicely browned

  2. in the meantime, soak the prunes and walnuts in a bit of boiling hot water (just enough to cover) for the amount of time it takes to roast the garlic

  3. when the garlic is ready, allow it to cool a few minutes or until you can handle it with your hands

  4. now, squeeze the garlic bulbs out into a food processor, drain the prunes and toss those in as well as the rest of the pesto ingredients and give a good blitz until it's smooth

  5. WALNUT PESTO

  6. if you don't have a food processor, you can use a pestle and mortar or just chop really well with a knife and that'll give it a nice rustic feel...makes no difference, as all the flavours should all be there

  7. now, for the cauliflower, toss the florets into a big bowl, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and the paprika

  8. toss onto a baking tray and pop into a preheated 350° oven for 30 minutes or until they're soft and nicely coloured

  9. in the meantime, boil the sweet potatoes in plenty of salted water for 15 minutes or until they're cooked through and super soft

  10. pop them into a food processor with the butter and cream and give them a good blitz until smooth

  11. for the oats, melt some butter into a frying pan and add the oats

  12. WALNUT PESTO

  13. keep stirring and cook until they're nice and crisp, take off the heat and set aside

  14. WALNUT PESTO

  15. for the tomatoes, toss them into a small bowl, bash them a bit, drizzle with red wine vinegar and sprinkle with a dash of sugar

  16. WALNUT PESTO

    WALNUT PESTO

  17. season the elk well with salt and pepper on both sides and toss into a nice hot pan, sear 3 or 4 minutes per side or until you have a steak cooked the way you like, set aside loosely covered with foil to rest

  18. then slice the steak

  19. WALNUT PESTO

  20. when you're ready to plate up, spread some sweet potato puree onto warmed plates, top with the steak, then oats, and a few quenelles of pesto and garnish with the tomato vinagrette and the onions

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