I've inherited a frozen venison tenderloin and am excited about it, but not sure what best to do with it. I tried Mark Bittman's twice cooked pork tenderloin that was in the Times a few weeks ago, and it was great. Seared the whole thing, then sliced it into medallions and seared both sides, and then a cider/rosemary/cream pan sauce. Could I get away with doing the same with the tenderloin? If so, are there any flavor affinities that folks recommend? I was thinking a port/cherry pan pan sauce might be good...
geryon, the port and cherry sauce sounds great. You might want to cook the sauce with some dried juniper berries and deglaze the searing pan with gin. Gin is derived from juniper, so the combination is great. I've done this with veal and a cranberry-based sauce.
One caution: venison is very lean and can be very tough if it goes beyond medium-rare. Make sure not to overcook it.
I always age our venison for two weeks in the frige before using. This allows the meat to become very tender with no gamey taste.
For tenderloin, I cut into medallions, then wrap each piece with half a slice of thin cut bacon (thick won't have enough time to cook this recipe), pin with toothpick, then rest them at room temp on the counter for an hour.
Heat oven to 425.
When oven is ready, heavily season one side of the venison medallions with sea or kosher salt. (Make certain that the bacon is even with the cooking surface of the salted side of each medallion allowing the meat to have full contact with pan.)
On the stovetop, heat a cast iron or heavy bottom, oven proof pan on high until near smoking, then add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Place the medallions into the hot pan on the salted side and sear for one minute.
Move pan to the oven and roast the venison for six minutes (MR). When done, remove medallions from pan immediately, turning them over so the seared side is facing up and allow to rest, tented with foil, for four minutes.
I often serve our tenderloin with sauteed green beans and scalloped bleu cheese potatoes. It doesn't get much better than well aged, perfectly cooked venison. Enjoy!