Sunday, February 1, 2009

Medallions of Venison with Cranberry-Port Sauce

Recipe from William Sonoma Essentials of Healthy Cooking and Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen
Serves 4

Our friend, Nathan, hunted his woods this past season and got a deer. I told him that if he’d bring over some tenderloins of venison, I’d cook them up for him. Last night, he made good on his promise and along with his wife, Janet, my hubby, Jim and another friend, Jason, we feasted on Nathan’s generous gift. All of the men loved this and there wasn’t a morsel left, so this definitely passes the man/husband test. This is an easy dish to make, but you’ll have to plan ahead because it calls for the venison to be marinated for 48 hours. I served this up with Apricot Pine Nut Pilaf (recipe on this blog) and some broccoli. It turned out to be a great combo. You’ll find cardamom pods in the bulk spice section of Lost River Market & Deli.

2 teaspoons sunflower or canola oil
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 plum (Roma) tomatoes (Since these weren’t in season, I used two tomatoes from a can.)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 large shallot, minced
1 can (15 oz.) beef broth (I used homemade beef stock-recipe on this blog-because I had some in the freezer that I made around the holidays using Fischer Beef Bones that I had purchased at Lost River Mkt. & Deli.)
½ cup cranberry juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 cardamom pods, crushed
2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 ¼ pounds venison tenderloins, sliced crosswise into 1 inch thick slices.

* You’ll also need some sunflower or canola oil for browning the venison

Reserved marinade
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup ruby Port
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 6 small pieces

Sauté the garlic, shallot and carrot in a saucepan over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the marinade ingredients (not the venison!) Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Place the venison in a shallow bowl or in a plastic Ziploc bag along with the marinade. Seal the bag or cover the bowl and place the venison in the fridge for 48 hours.
When you are ready to cook the venison, place the Port in a microwave safe measuring cup. Heat for 30 seconds. Add the cranberries to the warm Port and allow to sit for 20 minutes.
Set a large sieve over a bowl. Pour the venison and the marinade into the sieve. With tongs, remove the venison to a plate. Press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids, but keep the liquid. Heat a couple of teaspoons of oil in a large skillet. Add the venison and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 10-12 minutes total. (If you don’t have a large enough pan, cook the meat in 2 batches.) There should be dark brown bits on the bottom of the pan. That’s a good sign! Transfer the meat to a platter and tent with foil to keep it warm. Pour the reserved marinade into the pan and bring to a boil. Scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil until the liquid is reduced by about one third, about 5-10 minutes. Add the cranberries and the Port and cook another 4 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the butter pieces one at a time, whisking after each addition until each piece is melted and blended into the sauce. Pour the sauce over the meat.

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