with Blackcap Reduction
I’m a nose-to-tail sort of gal and certainly enjoy the challenge of cooking off the land. Although we aren’t hunters (or gardeners, for that matter) we are lucky to have many friends who share the bounty of the hunt with us. This is especially true when it comes to venison – and our freezer is chock full of venison chops, steaks, sausages, ground meat, and tenderloins.
Two of our favorite venison recipes are tenderloin wrapped in bacon, and venison medallions served with a sauce made from blackcap raspberries we harvested earlier in the year and stored in the freezer in ziplock bags. The sauce is amazing because it tastes “beefy and berry” at the same time and has a very dramatic color. Because deer are herbivores, they forage on leaves, twigs, grasses, nuts, fruits and mushrooms depending on the season. You’ll often see them snacking below oak, chestnut, apple or pear trees.
1½ cups blackcaps (or raspberries)
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
Ghee (or butter)
8 – 10 venison medallions (from boneless chops or tenderloins)
1 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
½ cup dry red wine
½ tub Knorr Homestyle Beef Stock Concentrate (this should be the amount of bouillon to make 2 cups of stock)
Purée the blackcaps (or raspberries) in a mini food processor then strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl. Discard the seeds.
Preferably in a large cast iron pan, sauté the onion in ghee or butter until soft and lightly browned. Remove the onions, set aside and keep warm.
In the same pan, sauté the venison medallions until just browned on both sides but not cooked through. This will only take about 1 or 2 minutes. Remove the medallions from the pan, set aside and keep warm.
In the same pan, simmer the balsamic vinegar until it is slightly reduced, thick and syrupy (it should coat the back of a teaspoon). Add in the red wine and the beef stock concentrate. In this step you are making “stock” with wine and balsamic instead of with water. Let the stock simmer, stirring often, until the stock concentrate has dissolved and has been incorporated throughout.
Add the blackcap purée to the pan and stir well to combine.
Put the venison medallions back into the pan and simmer until they are warmed and cooked to medium rare – just about a half-minute on each side.
Place the medallions on a serving platter, top with the reserved onions and serve the additional sauce on the side.
Cook’s Note: The general consensus, with which I personally agree, is that game such as venison (antelope, elk and moose) are herbivores. Since their meat does not have the marbling-fat you see in cow beef, only cook to medium-rare or, at the most, medium (160 degrees). If you cook longer it will turn to shoe-leather-consistency in no time. If you have any concerns about eating locally hunted venison, you can first freeze the venison for a minimum of 24 hours before cooking. But most importantly – always get your meat from a reputable source.