Venison tenderloin, juniper berry sauce, savory potatoes

Marinade

Heat in a large skillet over medium-high heat:

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Add and cook until onions are golden:

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced carrot

6 cloves crushed garlic

Add:

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup water

3 bay leaves

1/2 tbsp each dried thyme, basil, whole clove, crushed black pepper

12 whole juniper berries (check out Penzey’s online for supplies)

Bring to boil, then simmer for 1 hour. Strain, reserve solids, and cool the liquid.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid, marinate in remaining liquid in a freezer bag:

2 pounds venison tenderloin

Allow to marinate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. While marinating, prepare potatoes and sauce.

Savory potatoes

In a large pot of medium heat:

5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

Milk, enough to just cover potatoes

2 cloves garlic

3 bay leaves

When pot comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer, stir occasionally to prevent potatoes from sticking to bottom. As they cook prepare sauce and grill steaks. As the potatoes get very tender, the milk will thicken.  If the milk completely dissipates before the potatoes are tender, add a small amount to the pot and continue to cook until tender.  When very tender, remove the bay leaves and mash the potatoes vigorously until creamy.

Sauce

Heat in a large skillet over medium-high heat:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Add and cook until slightly caramelized:

Reserved solids from marinade

Add:

1/2 cup reserved marinade

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup beef broth

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Reduce by half.  Strain and return liquid to skillet.  Reduce further until it coats the back of a spoon.  Immediately remove from heat to avoid burning. Reserve for after steaks have been grilled.

Grilled Venison Steaks

Prepare high heat grill, either gas or charcoal. As the grill heats, mix the following spices in a bowl and then rub onto the venison tenderloins until well-coated:

1 tbsp each ancho chile powder, smoked paprika, brown sugar, cumin, black pepper, salt (again, I recommend Penzey’s to find any spices you may not have here)

Cook the tenderloin steaks on the grill for approximately 4 minutes per side, until rare or medium-rare, about 140 degrees.  Allow to rest on a plate, tented, for 4 additional minutes. The tenderloin will continue to cook slightly off the heat. Do not overcook, as venison is a very lean meat.  The inside should remain red.

As venison rests, bring sauce and potatoes back to service temperature.  Turn of heat on the sauce, and add:

4 tbsp butter

Swirl butter into sauce until melted.

Serve a scoop of potatoes on each plate with sliced tenderloin, drizzle with sauce.

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