Venison Steaks with Balsamic-Boysenberry Sauce

This is a quick and easy recipe that will impress and satisfy anyone. (Even those who say they don't like venison.) It's inspired by Hunt Fish Cook Chef Scott Leysath. We changed things a little bit and broke it down for you here. It's so easy that we even made it over a Coleman stove while out camping. It doesn't get any better than that. 

Servings: 2
- 1 lb venison tenderloin, cut against the grain into 1-1/4 inch pieces
- Garlic pepper seasoning
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbs. boysenberry preserve
- 1-1/2 tbs. butter or margarine (salted)
- Crumbled blue cheese

TIP: Make sure that the venison reaches room temperature before you start cooking it. This goes for any kind of meat that is going to be pan seared. Over cooking or burning a steak because it’s still cold inside is a no-no. Trust me. I have done it plenty. 

 1. Remove as much silver skin as you can from the venison. The most complaints I hear from people is that  venison tastes "too gamey" and "too tough." Silver skin is what gives the meat that nasty taste. On top of that, if not removed, the skin will tighten up while cooking and make the meat curl.
 2. Cut up the venison against the grain into 1-1/4 inch thick pieces. Then pat dry with a paper towel. Wet meat will not sear, so you won't get that nice caramel color.
 3. Rub the steaks LIBERALLY (Rick hates that word. Hah!) with garlic pepper seasoning. If your seasoning doesn't have salt in it already, then sprinkle salt over the venison as well. I like to taste the seasoning before I use it, just to get a good idea of its intensity.

4. In a 10-in pan, or so, heat up the olive oil over medium-high heat. If it's non stick, you don't need that much. Just enough to brown the meat on both sides.

5. Make sure the pan is super hot before putting on the meat. (TIP: You can check by sprinkling a couple drops of water into the pan. If it sizzles and disappears immediately, the pan's ready.) 

6. Brown both sides of the venison, 30 sec - 1 min on each side. DO NOT COOK THE VENISON ALL THE WAY THROUGH. I think venison is best eaten medium-rare. It's juicy, and you can really taste it's full flavor that way.  Just don't go beyond medium, which contributes to the "too tough"comments. Venison cannot be cooked like beef.

7. Reduce heat to low. Quickly pour in balsamic vinegar, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan (about 1/4 cup), and then add the boysenberry preserve, 2 good spoonfuls. Balsamic vinegar is one of those things that's difficult to buy, since there are so many kinds. I really like the brand Delallo. You don't have to spend too much money, but don't skimp out. It does make a difference.

 8. Remove the venison immediately and keep warm. I would even recommend taking the steaks out once they brown on both sides, before adding the balsamic vinegar and preserve. Remember, no eating shoe leather. The meat will continue to cook while it rests.

9. Let the balsamic vinegar and preserve mixture simmer and reduce to a syrupy consistency. Stir occasionally. Be careful not to burn.  Always taste while you are cooking. You want a balance of sweetness from the preserve and acidity from the vinegar. Add more of either until you're satisfied. 

10. Once thickened, whisk in chilled butter or margarine. Cut the butter into smaller pieces so it will easily dissolve. I like using salted because it adds to the sauce. Taste.

11. Drizzle the sauce over the steaks. Crumble blue cheese on top. (TIP: Let cheese reach room temperature before serving. You'll get more flavor out of it .)

12. ENJOY! 
Wine suggestions:
- Merlot
- Cabernet

We served this dish with Sauteed Leeks and Easy Baked Garlic and Parsley Potatoes.


Just to prove we did make this while camping. It was freezing!

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