Though the holidays have come and gone, you may still have much entertaining to attend to—not to mention the endless to-do lists and errands that come with it. From pumpkin carving in the fall to champagne chilling in the winter, no host or hostess has much time for leisure at this time of year—except perhaps when we can escape to the deer stand.
Unfortunately, the chaos of such a season can turn something as zen-like as cooking into a daunting, stressful task if not streamlined smartly. That is why in these months, when I’m not entertaining I focus on dishes that are quick and delicious. And healthy? There’s a word that’s rarely thrown around at this time of year. But with access to wild game you can produce something sublime and healthy with a lean venison backstrap and a simple sauce that is versatile.
Recently, I had a friend over for dinner. It was impromptu, and she brought along some venison that her father had hunted. When I don’t have many ingredients and want to keep things quick and simple, I turn to this sauce because of its versatility, and simplicity. The fewer steps in your process the more likely you are to cook for yourself on a busy weeknight.
This sauce can be used on anything from elk to beef to pork, and even chicken. And it is a great way to use up last season’s game meat and increase your freezer space for all of your successful hunts this season. Try making a batch of this sauce when you’re looking for something simple and delicious this season, it will become your new go-to favorite.
“Venison in Red Wine & Port Mushroom Sauce”
• 1 venison backstrap • Salt and pepper • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms • 2 shallots, thinly sliced • 2 tablespoons flour • 1/2 cup red wine • 1/2 cup port wine
1. Season the venison with salt and pepper liberally on all sides.
2. Heat a skillet with 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil until smoking hot. Add the venison backstrap and sear on all sides until well browned, about 5 minutes in total for rare, about 8 minutes for medium rare.
3. Remove the backstrap to a rack or cutting board and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
4. Add 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil to the pan, heat and add the mushrooms and shallots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to help release the juices and cook until soft. Sprinkle with the flour and stir to dry out the pan.
5. Add the red wine and port and simmer, stirring to break up the flour. Let reduce by about half until thickened and the alcohol burns off.
6. Slice the venison into thin slices and spoon over the sauce. Serve immediately.