• Venison Loin With Cherry Cumberland Sauce And Goat Cheese

    Venison Loin With Cherry Cumberland Sauce and Goat Cheese.

    Venison Loin With Cherry Cumberland Sauce and Goat Cheese.

    How can you turn pork into venison? Simple, just make your own bacon and then trade it for other tasty stuff. It works like a charm. In this case we were lucky enough to get a full venison loin (or backstrap, if you want to use hunter’s vernacular) in exchange for a slab of bacon. This is a trade we will make any time. Good venison is a treat. We don’t have it often, but when we do it’s a special occasion.

    venison5venison6How do you cook venison loin? Carefully and never past medium rare. This is a perfect use for a sous-vide cooker. We cooked our loin sous-video at 130 degrees for about 2 hours and then seared it in butter. If you don’t have a sous-vide cooker (and most people don’t) just brown the venison in a hot skillet, turning and basting often, until you get to rare to medium rare. It doesn’t take long. And remember to rest the meat after cooking to keep the juices in.venison7

    venison9Now for a sauce. We just picked our Bing cherries from the orchard, so it wasn’t a hard call for us to combine the cherries and venison in a dish. It was, however, hard to find a recipe for fresh cherries and venison (plenty of recipes for game and dried cherries). But we did find a good Venison with Cumberland Sauce recipe at Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook (if cooking with game the website to visit, IMHO) and decided to riff on that.

    venison8venison4Cumberland sauce is a classic combination of currants (or other red fruit), port wine, citrus, beef stock (or demi-glace) and spices. Since we were using brightly flavored cherries, we omitted the citrus and went with shallots, thyme, a good dose of black pepper and finished with a bunch of butter (why not?). We also had heard of Norwegian-inspired recipes that combine goat cheese and venison, so we decided to crumble on goat cheese to add tang and creamy notes to the dish.

    venison3venison2And the dish was a big success. The venison was medium-rare with deep, but clean flavor and fine texture (like Filet Mignon, but with way more flavor). The sauce was sweet from the port wine, with rich flavors from the beef stock and butter, but the tart notes of the cherries and goat cheese and the kick of black pepper kept the dish in balance. The creamy goat cheese also added a welcome extra textural dimension. Yum. We like the sauce so much we will try it on lamb and pork as well.

    venison1Meanwhile, we will be curing more bacon and hope we can bribe tempt more hunters into trades. Maybe they will trade for some home-made jams or pickles as well…hmmm…

    Venison Loin With Cherry Cumberland Sauce and Goat Cheese:

    (Adapted, somewhat, from Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook)

    Notes before you start:

    – You can use beef stock or demi-glace in the sauce. The demi-glace will be richer and is worth using if you can get it. Otherwise, just allow 5-10 minutes of extra time to reduce the beef stock.

    – You MUST trim any silver skin from the venison loin to assure easy cooking and eating. It is easy to find and trim. Don’t skip this step.

    Ingredients:

    (serves-6, depending on the size of the loin)

    Venison:

    • 1, 1 1/2 pound venison loin (backstrap), trimmed of fat and silver skin
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Butter, clarified butter or high-heat oil for browning

    Cherry Cumberland Sauce:

    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 shallot, minced
    • 1/2 cup port wine
    • 1/4 cup demi-glace (or 1 cup beef stock / broth)
    • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 3/4 cup sweet cherries (like Bing or Brooks), pitted and halved
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 oz. soft goat cheese, like Chevre, for garnish

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