It’s cooked slowly, but the prep is lightening fast.
Most people know “Chicken Tikka Masala” as an Indian dish, but, as things in life often go, it’s not exactly that simple. I don’t think anybody knows the exact origin of the dish but it’s definitely the Brits that popularized it (and England is also probably where it was invented, albeit also probably in an Indian kitchen). Chicken Tikka Masala is to England what General Tso’s Chicken is to the US: Asian inspired, customized to suit the Western palate, and almost certainly not exactly from the assumed country of origin. Needless to say, it’s delicious.
After making this dish, I’ve realized just how perfect Indian food is to make with venison. It’s often slow cooked (or, at least, can be) which is great for tougher cuts of meat. It’s also heavily spiced, which is great for funkier cuts of meat. (Ahem… white tail…) While tikka masala is typically a chicken dish, the venison went with it beautifully. This is actually the first thing I’ve made a double batch of that we ate all of and wished for more.
When I made this, I sautéed the onions, etc before adding it to the crock pot. While this gives you a little deeper flavor, it’s kind of not necessary. If you’re throwing this together on a busy morning before work you can really just put all the ingredients in the crock pot and let it braise. Do keep in mind this recipe is a double batch; my house has big appetites, and, like most stew, this freezes extremely well. Just make sure to freeze what you want before adding your cream or coconut milk.
Double Batch Slow Cooker Elk Tikka Masala
- 2 1/2-3lb Elk stew meat
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 Large onion (diced)
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 " piece of ginger (grated)
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 1 can coconut milk
- cilantro (chopped, for garnish)
- steamed rice (for serving)
|Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and some salt to taste and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, spices and tomato paste and cook another 3-4 minutes, until fragrant.|
|Add the meat, the onion sauté, and the diced tomatoes with their juices to a large crockpot, stirring everything to coat evenly. Put the slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.|
|Once everything is cooked and the meat is tender, stir in the coconut milk. If you want your gravy thicker, continue to let it cook in the slow cooker uncovered for about 15 minutes. Taste and add more garam masala or salt to taste. Serve with steamed basmati.|
Non-game Substitution: Umm.. chicken. You could also do beef, or even lamb.
Vegetarian substitution: You can definitely make this with paneer. At a good grocery store with ample international options (like Whole Foods) you can usually find some cubes of paneer in the frozen section.