We caught up with Chef Gillespie, an avid hunter, restaurateur, and owner of Gunshow in Atlanta, Georgia. He also gives us new recipes to pregame gamebirds and big game.
CHEF’S NOTE: “This is a pretty spicy dish. For less heat, remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño, or just use a little less. Ceylon cinnamon sticks have a shaggy look, similar to thin tree bark. Look for them in Latin American markets or specialty food shops (Walmart stocks them too). If you can’t find Ceylon cinnamon, substitute ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon. But don’t be tempted to use thick, hard cinnamon sticks (cassia). They won’t grind easily.”
The full “Welcome to the Gunshow” feature and additional recipes are published in the February/March 18 issue.
Photography by Mike Schalk
- 12 ounces boneless elk loin, cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup malt vinegar
- 2-inch piece Ceylon stick cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 3 tablespoons ancho or other ground chili powder
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 jalapeño pepper, stem removed
- 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and diced, about ⅓ cup
- ½ cup garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 shallots, diced, about ½ cup
- ½ cup grapeseed or canola oil
- 1½ cups chicken stock
- 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice, about 1 cup
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ cup plain Greek or other strained yogurt
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
- In a large bowl, toss the pork with the vinegar.
- Break the cinnamon stick into pieces in a heavy skillet and then add the peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds. Toast over medium heat until fragrant and deep golden brown, shaking the pan occasionally, about 4 minutes. The spices will start popping and dancing in the pan, and you should dry-roast the spices a little longer than you might think is right; you want to develop some color on them, which adds more flavor. Once they start smoking, dump them from the skillet onto a piece of parchment or wax paper. Reserve the skillet.
- When the spices have cooled a bit, grind them to a powder in a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle. Transfer the ground spices to a bowl and whisk in the chili powder, red pepper flakes, turmeric, cardamom, and cloves.
- In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the jalapeño, ginger, garlic, and shallot, and process to a fine chop.
- Return the skillet to medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the chopped ginger mixture. Stir frequently, and if the mixture starts to brown, remove the pan from the heat to cool it a bit, then return to a lower heat setting; you want to slowly fry and brown the shallots without burning them. Scrape and stir the browned bits until the ingredients are evenly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the spice blend and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Stir in the pork and vinegar until the pork is completely coated with the spice mixture. Add the chicken stock, potatoes, and salt, and increase the heat to medium-high. Cover and bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid and simmer just until the sauce breaks or starts to separate, about 3 minutes. Basically, you’ll get an oil slick on top of your sauce. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Squeeze the lemon into a small bowl to make a little more than ¼ cup juice. Whisk in the honey, yogurt, and cilantro. Serve the pork topped with a dollop of the yogurt and some additional chopped cilantro.
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