"Buck" Wellington

You know, "Buck" Wellington! -- the un-famous, backwoods American cousin to the British Duke of Wellington! (Rick whispered this clever name to me while he was cutting up some onion.)

We admit that this recipe was a little tricky. It requires time in the oven, which is a method we usually shy away from when it comes to whole pieces of wild game. The end product turned out good, but it wasn't exactly where we wanted it to be. But that's good news for you. We make the mistakes so you don't have to. So below is the revised recipe, with tweaks and adjustments to make sure that your "Buck" Wellington turns out perfect. Give this recipe a try. It was fun to make and will surely impress anyone around the dinner table.

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: About 1 1/2 - 2 hours
- half a venison tenderloin (Size will vary. Go by how much you want to eat.)
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tbs. butter 
- cooking twine (optional)
- frozen puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator  
- all purpose flour 
- 1 egg
- 1 tbs. water
Mushroom Mixture or "Duxelles"
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, or 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tbs. butter
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Ramsay's Red Wine Sauce
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 4 tbs. olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
- 1/2 tsp. ground dried rosemary, or 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
- 5 tbs. balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth, low or no sodium preferred
- 1 tbs. butter
- salt and pepper, to taste 

I. Red Wine Sauce
This should be started ahead of time, or while you prepare the "Buck" Wellington itself. The sauce can always be reheated.

1. Over high heat, saute sliced shallots over high heat in olive oil until lightly browned. Stir often. About 3 minutes. 

Season with freshly ground black pepper. Add in crushed garlic. If using a fresh sprig of rosemary, put the rosemary in with the garlic at this time. Cook for another 1 minute. Stir often so shallots do not burn.
2. Add 5 tbs. balsamic vinegar. If using dried rosemary, add it after the vinegar, like we did. Cook until balsamic vinegar reduces to a syrup.
3. Add wine and reduce by 2/3. Then pour in stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and reduce by 2/3 again. Remove garlic and rosemary (if using a fresh sprig). Whisk in butter. Add salt and pepper, if necessary. Take off heat and set aside. 

II. Mushroom Mixture

1. In a medium pan, heat 1 tbs. butter and 1 tbs. olive oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add minced onion and garlic.
3. Add finely chopped mushrooms. We would even suggest chopping the mushrooms more finely than this. We did it by hand, so we could only chop so finely. If you have a food processor, use it. Ideally, the mushrooms should be almost as fine as breadcrumbs.
4. Add thyme, salt and pepper, to taste. Cook mushroom mixture until all liquid has evaporated. And by "all", we mean that the mixture should be on the dry side. This was a mistake we made. Even though all visible liquid was gone, there was still a lot of moisture left in the mushroom. So it seeped out while cooking in the oven, making our puff pastry a little soggy. Take off heat to let mixture cool. Transfer to a bowl and chill in the fridge. 

The mushroom mixture looks pretty rough here, but if you can chop the mushrooms as finely as you can, the finished product should look like a paste. We suggest putting the onion, mushrooms and garlic all in a food processor before cooking. 

III. The Backstraps

1. Trim chilled backstraps of all fat and silver skin. When we processed our deer, we cut the backstraps into sections. You can cut it however way you want, as long as it can be rolled into your puff pastry sheets.

Dry backstraps with a paper towel. Sprinkle ground black pepper and kosher salt on all sides. We tied one of the pieces with cooking twine to make it more round. Totally optional.
2. Heat 1 tbs. butter over high heat in a cast iron pan. Sear backstraps on all sides for a deep brown color, about 30 seconds - 1 minute on each side. Make sure pan is really hot before placing backstraps. The backstraps should be cold to prevent the meat from cooking through. All you want here is a nice sear on the outside, that's it.

3. Remove backstraps from heat. Allow to cool. Remove cooking twine, if you used any. Then move to refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap so they don't dry out.

IV. Assembly

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Unfold puff pastry sheet on a floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll out dough to desired size (dough should be able to wrap around the backstrap once with enough room to crimp up the ends).

Beat egg with 1 tbs. water. Brush egg mixture over pastry sheet. Then spread out a thin layer of the mushroom mixture over the egg wash.
2. Remove backstrap(s) from refrigerator. Roll them into the puff pastry, like so. Fold the ends. Place them on a baking sheet, fold side down. Cut off any excess pastry. Places wrapped with 2 layers of pastry will not cook, another mistake we made.

Brush egg wash over the tops of the pastry. Chill unbaked "Buck" Wellington(s) for 5-10 minutes in fridge.
3. Then, bake in a 400 degrees F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown on top and cooked through. For medium rare, internal temperature should read around 125-130 degrees F.

Let the "Buck" Wellington rest for 10 minutes.  ;-)
4. Slice into 1 inch thick slices.
5. Reheat Red Wine Sauce if necessary. Give it another quick whisk. 

Serve "Buck" Wellington slices with Red Wine Sauce.

As always, thank you for following us. We hope that you are finding our blog useful. We would really appreciate it if you can help us spread the word by sharing our recipes with your family and friends! Thank you!