ground elk recipe

Ground Elk Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10
Cook time: 20
Method: Roasting

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and while this year might look a bit different than usual, there’s still a lot to be grateful for – and a lot of ways we can still enjoy the holiday. After all, even a virtual Thanksgiving meal, needs some tasty dishes to go along with it. So cook up a few of your favorites – or make this the year you go completely non-traditional (nothing is going according to plan anyway). Trade recipes, drop dishes off for neighbors to enjoy, only eat pie. Like we said, this is the year to do the holiday exactly how you want to do it. And as long as we’re looking at the bright side of things, at least if the dinner convo gets awkward, you can always just say you’ve got a bad internet connection and bail.

This amazing recipe for Ground Elk Stuffed Acorn Squash by  Primal Pioneer is perfectly seasonal, easy to prep in advance of the big day and wonderful as an appetizer, side dish or the main event. Your holiday. Your menu.

Recipe & Photography by Primal Pioneer.

Recipe: Ground Elk Stuffed Acorn Squash


  • 1 pound Ground Elk Blend
  • 4 acorn squash
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil – divided
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt – divided
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • ¼ tsp. rosemary
  • ¼ tsp. thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • Fresh thyme leaves – optional


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cook the rice according to package directions. Set aside when done.
  3. Slice the acorn squash horizontally and spoon out the seeds. Place the acorn squash halves onto a baking sheet (you may need two), brush with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and season with ¼ tsp. salt and pepper.
  4. Roast the acorn squash for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven.
  5. While the squash is cooking, add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to a skillet and add the ground venison blend. Cook thoroughly over medium heat – until no pink remains. Then, add the maple syrup, cranberries, thyme, rosemary, and ¼ tsp. salt (or more to taste), stir and let cook for 2-3 minutes on low. Add the cooked rice and stir to combine.
  6. Remove from heat, and carefully spoon the rice and meat mixture into the baked acorn squash halves
  7. Top with fresh thyme leaves, if preferred, and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes:

  • If you find the mixture too sweet, you can reduce the maple syrup to 1 Tbsp.
  • Use 1 fresh apple – cored and chopped, in place of the dried cranberries, if preferred.

About Primal Pioneer: Primal Pioneer is about reconnecting with their primal roots and respecting our lands, resources, and natural inhabitants. They support humane conservation and preservation of wildlife. Their goal is to help elevate wild game meats with new and exciting recipes that are both easy to prepare and delicious.

Looking for more Thanksgiving recipes? Check out these favorites: