Venison with a dried cherry-cognac reduction and roasted root vegetables...
Lance shot some more deer this fall and his Dad, Regis, brought The Motley Monk three venison tenderloins from Altoona, PA. What a catch!
The Motley Monk knows a lot of people abhor the thought of eating Bambi, but it's precisely because they're thinking about Bambi and they end up depriving themselves of one of the most wonderful, lean, luscious cuts of meat to be enjoyed on this planet. Some people have tried venison and reported to The Motley Monk that it had a bad flavor. That's how to know it was meat from an older deer. Young deer have absolutely no "gamey" taste or flavor.
So, what to do with those three tenderloins?
The Motley Monk had some dried cherries in the kitchen that needed to be used as well as some red onions. "Aha," The Motley Monk thought. "How about a dried cherry-cognac 'reduction'"? In plain English, that's "gravy."
Making a reduction is very easy. It just takes some time and a little planning ahead.
The Motley Monk started this reduction by melting some butter and adding the diced red onion and dried cherries. Once the cherries perked up a bit, The Motley Monk added beef broth.
Then begins the "reduction" process. Simmer the ingredients until the liquid is reduced by one half.
Now it's time to melt some butter and whisk in some flour to create a roux.
Slowly add the roux, whisking it into the reduction. Then, whisk in some cognac. (A little more is always better than too little!)
Bring the reduction to a very low simmer to cook the roux through. Add some salt and pepper to taste plus a dollop of butter. The reduction is finished and ready when the reduction "holds onto" the back of a stainless steel spoon.
Making a reduction is as simple as that! And, don't be afraid to experiment. The Motley Monk has used dried blueberries, dried cranberries, and dried apricots as well as a variety of spices to make various reductions. Rosemary is excellent for venison and beef reductions.
A Motley Monk tip:
A reduction can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Heating it in a microwave at 30 second bursts and stirring it until the reduction becomes very well heated brings the reduction back to life as if it was just made fresh.
Now that the reduction is being made (or has been made), what to do with those venison tenderloins?
How about barbecuing them indoors since it was too cold to go outside, get the grill ready, and then cook outdoors?
Preheat the oven to 325°.
Butcher the silver skin. Just pierce the tenderloin beneath the silver skin and slowly saw back and forth with a butcher's knife to separate it from the meat.
Then, drizzle on a little olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper onto the tenderloins so that all of the oil and spices permeate the tenderloin. Don't do anything else! The flavor will be delicious as is.
Place the tenderloins in a container to let everything rest for about fifteen minutes while firing up the kitchen grill pan.
After the grill pan gets good and hot (to sear the tenderloins on both sides), spray the grill pan with Pam. Then, add the tenderloins and sear on both sides.
Place the grill pan into the oven for 10-20 minutes (10 minutes for rare; 20 minutes for medium well).
Now, what to have with the venison and dried cherry-cognac reduction?
How about some roasted root vegetables?
This is real easy.
First, peel and cut the root vegetables into equally-sized pieces. Here The Motley Monk used parsnips, rutabaga, and turnips. Then, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. Mix thoroughly so that all of the vegetable pieces get coated with everything all over.
Spray rimmed cookie sheets with Pam and arrange the roasted root vegetables to that all sides can get browned. Roast in a 400° oven for 40 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, turn the root vegetables so they will cook evenly and brown nicely. (In this preparation, The Motley Monk roasted the vegetables for 30 minutes at 400° and lowered the oven's temperature to 325° for the last 10 minutes while the venison was being finished in the oven.
Because of the unevenness of the sizes of the root vegetables, some might get more brown than others. That's no problem! The sugars of the roasted root vegetables have caramelized...and taste great!
Put it all together, et voila! Venison with a dried cherry-cognac reduction and roasted root vegetables.
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