You’ll have to excuse me if today’s post is a bit incoherent. After many, many weeks of (fairly) good sleep, Ye Olde Insomnia has reared it’s ugly head again, and I had a pretty rough night. If past experience is anything to go by, this will be the standard for the next several nights, until my sleep patterns smooth back out. So the whole week may be incoherent.
At any rate, I’ll try to remain lucid enough to get through what I promise will be the last venison recipe, at least for awhile. And what a recipe! This is going on the short list for Things I’d Eat For My Final Meal. Yes, it is that good.
You might remember a few weeks ago I posted a recipe for Honey Mustard Venison Chops (which is really, really tasty, by the way). The cut of meat I used for that was labeled “chops,” which I took for the loin of the deer, and likened it to filet mignon. It turns out I was right, but for some reason it’s more commonly known as the “backstrap” – probably because that’s where the loin of the deer is located (I know; it seems odd to me too). Anyhow, I was just thrilled to find more of the same in the package of deer meat we were gifted last week, and couldn’t wait to cook it. But what to make?
Most recipes for venison backstrap are very simple preparations; it is apparently excellent lightly seasoned and grilled. However, I couldn’t have been happier to run across Hank Shaw’s recipe for Venison Steak Diane, on which I’ve based this recipe, and I have to tell you – it is lick-your-plate delicious. Which is pretty much what we did when we ate it.
Steak Diane was all the rage in the 50s and 60s, when tableside preparations of dishes were popular, especially at restaurants. For Steak Diane, the alcohol – usually brandy, although cognac is fine and what I used – is flambéed. I’ve done flambé before (by accident on more than one occasion) and while it’s got a bit of an “Oooohhh!” factor, it’s pretty overrated, so there will be no flambéing here. Of course, if you want to set yourself on fire, that’s entirely up to you.
But I digress. I believe I mentioned that we licked our plates in the process of eating this, and that’s no exaggeration – this dish is just to die for. The meat is tender and a perfect, uniform pink throughout, and the sauce is so so so SO good. And the best thing about it is that it’s pretty darn easy to make.
What more could you ask for?
Note: If you don’t have the venison, beef filet is perfectly acceptable. And probably every bit as delicious.
- 12 ounces venison backstrap, cut into four pieces about 1 1/2" thick
- kosher or sea salt
- 2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup cognac
- 1/2 cup beef stock, preferably homemade
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- very finely chopped parsley
- Generously salt the venison steaks and allow them to rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
- Heat the ghee or olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat for about 90 seconds; sear the steaks for one minute on each side. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the steaks for an additional 8 minutes - four minutes per side, or until the internal temperature of the steaks reaches 140 F.. Remove the venison from the skillet, tent loosely with foil and set aside.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, taking care not to burn the garlic. Deglaze the skillet with the cognac, scraping up the brown bits in the bottom of the pan. Let the cognac cook down almost to a glaze, then stir in the beef stock, tomato paste, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir the coconut milk into the sauce. Spoon the sauce onto two plates; slice the venison steaks and arrange on top of the sauce. Garnish with the parsley and serve.
- Nutrition (per serving): 483 calories, 24.6g total fat, 61.2mg cholesterol, 403.3mg sodium, 553mg potassium, 12g carbohydrates, 1.3g fiber, 4.9g sugar, 40.2g protein