This traditional recipe is usually made with beef roast, often prime rib, served with airy, savory popover-style rolls and gravy made with the pan drippings from the roast. We like to use elk roast.
Since elk, like all venison, is a lean meat, we don’t get a lot of pan drippings like you would with beef. In place of these drippings, we use an even tastier substitute: duck fat. You can render your own duck fat at home, or buy it in most supermarkets.
Before cooking, use butcher’s twine to tie the roast into a tight round for even cooking. We cover the meat with more duck fat, then add a spice rub featuring finely ground coffee for a base.
Add duck fat into the bottom of a roasting pan along with the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. As the roast cooks, the fat takes on the flavor of the roasted aromatics.
The difference between popovers and traditional Yorkshire pudding is that the former tend to use melted butter in the pan with the batter, whereas Yorkshire pudding uses pan drippings from the roast. You will often find the two terms used interchangeably, regardless of the fat used in cooking.
You can use a standard muffin pan for the Yorkshire puddings, but a dedicated popover pan with deeper, narrower cups makes for a taller, fluffier roll.
3- to 4-pound elk roast, top or bottom round or a combination
1 cup duck fat
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 yellow onions, quartered
2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
1 tablespoon finely ground coffee
1 tablespoon sea or kosher salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Yorkshire Pudding Popovers
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons rendered duck fat pan drippings
1/2 cup duck fat pan drippings, strained
1 medium shallot, finely diced
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
Start by mixing the batter for the Yorkshire puddings. Refrigerate until ready for use. You can even make the batter the night before. Simply stir the eggs and milk into the flour and salt. Use a whisk to blend well until all lumps are gone.
For the roast, use butcher’s twine to tie the roast into a tight, round shape. Coat the roast with duck fat. Mix the seasoning rub and sprinkle all over the roast.
To a large roasting pan, add 1 cup duck fat along with the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Place a roasting rack over the vegetables and add the seasoned elk roast. Roast in a preheated 375-degree oven to an internal temperature of 130 degrees. Remove the roast and cover with foil. Place it in a warm spot while you make the popovers and gravy.
Drain the duck fat and pan drippings into a spouted container like a large measuring cup, straining the vegetables as you do. To a popover pan or standard-size muffin tin, pour about a teaspoon of pan drippings into 9 of the cups in the pan.
Pour the Yorkshire pudding batter over the pan drippings, filling each cup about two-thirds of the way full to allow room for expansion. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
While the puddings cook, make the gravy on the stovetop. To a saucepan over medium-high heat, add 1/2 cup of the reserved pan drippings. Add the diced shallot. Sauté for 5 to 8 minutes until the shallot is cooked through and translucent. Sprinkle on the flour and stir well.
Cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is a light blond color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly pour in the beef stock and red wine, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue stirring until the gravy reaches the desired thickness. Slice the rested roast and serve with Yorkshire pudding and gravy.
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