Venison Tenderloin

Venison Tenderloin in Red Wine with Porcini Mushrooms

venison tenderloins (I had two that weighed about 11 ounces each – enough to serve about six to eight people)

for the marinade:

1 1/2 cups dry red wine (take your pick – anything from an expensive bordeaux to a less expensive merlot or shiraz will do)

8 juniper berries

a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary and fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

4 cloves of garlic

Let the meat marinate a couple of hours, or overnight preferably. Drain the marinade and set aside. Pat the meat dry.

1 1/2 cup minced onion

1 or 2 carrots, chopped

3 T. olive oil

1 cup chicken or beef stock (I prefer chicken, but you may like the more robust flavor of the beef stock)

dried porcini mushrooms

4 T. butter for sauteeing venison

juice of one lemon

2 T. brandy

2 T. butter

1/4 c. cream (optional)

a few drops kitchen bouquet

salt and pepper

Pour the olive oil into a skillet and saute the onions and carrots until soft. Pour in the reserved marinade, making sure to add the juniper berries and other ingredients. Add the chicken or beef stock. Let this mixture cook down and reduce a bit on medium high heat, for about 10 to 15 minutes. The liquid will not be really thick yet. Strain out the vegetables, but reserve the liquid.

Place the butter in a heavy skillet or cast iron pan. Season the meat with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the juice of one lemon. Saute the meat in the skillet, turning on all sides until it’s browned. Put the entire pan into a 350 degree oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on whether you like your meat medium rare or medium. Remove from the oven and keep the meat covered on a warm platter while you finish the sauce. 

Deglaze the bits of meat that remain on the inside of the cast iron skillet, by straining the liquid from the porcini mushrooms into the pan and adding them to the pan, scraping up the bits on the bottom. Add the porcini mushrooms as well, and all the liquid from the first pan (the one with the marinade and chicken stock). Cook it at high heat until it reduces. Lower the heat and add the brandy and two tablespoons of butter. If you want a creamier sauce, add 1/4 cup cream. Add the kitchen bouquet to get a darker color sauce. Taste the sauce and add more salt and/or pepper if needed.