Yeah, I was never much of a hunter, but I always loved the spoils. I still do. When real hunters hunt and want to share their bounty, count me in as one very lucky boy.
Pan Seared Venison Tenderloin With Green Peppercorn Sauce.
Venison tenderloin is leaner than lean. It simply needs a kiss of heat for medium rare, added fat, and tender care.
I trimmed a 3/4 pound Woodford County venison tenderloin and seasoned the meat with salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika before slipping it into a screaming hot cast iron skillet drizzled with 1 tablespoon olive oil. After adding 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 whole garlic cloves, and fresh thyme sprigs, I seared the tenderloin 3 to 4 minutes per side (mounting the steak with the sizzling butter after each turn) until a gorgeous crust formed and slid it into a preheated 400 degree oven. When the internal temperature reached 120 degrees, I pulled the tenderloin from the oven, removed it to a cutting board, and tented it for 10 minutes to rest and allow the internal temp to reach 125 degrees for medium rare.
After removing the spent thyme, I returned the skillet to the heat, added 2 tablespoons unsalted butter,1 chopped shallot, 1 minced garlic clove, and 2 tablespoons brined green peppercorns. When the shallots turned translucent, I splashed the skillet with 1/3 cup Makers Mark bourbon, tipped the skillet to ignite the alcohol, took a quick shot of bourbon, and let the flames taper off before adding 1 heaping tablespoon dijon mustard, 1/4 cup heavily reduced beef stock (almost a demi glace), a pinch of salt, pepper, and 3/4 cup heavy cream. When the sauced reduced and thickened, I pulled it from the heat and set it aside.
I sliced the venison tenderloin on the bias, overlapped the medallions onto toasted Bluegrass Bakery ciabatta croutons, and plated the sauce before finishing with flaked sea salt, cracked black pepper, fresh slivered scallions, and flash fried parsnip ribbons.
Flecked with pops of briny heat, the dijon-infused cream sauce tempered the slight gaminess of the tender deer meat. While the slivered scallions provided grassy freshness, the fried parsnips added an earthy delicate crunch. Total win.
Respect the hunt.
Respect the bounty.