Venison Tenderloin with Blueberry-Red Wine Reduction

I am SO thrilled – I pretty much have all of The Young One’s college finances wrapped up.  We’ll meet the deadline for payment, with time to spare (thank goodness), and then all I’ll have to worry about is getting everything together he needs to take with him by his move-in date.

And then things will be very quiet in our house.

I don’t know how much I’m looking forward to that.  I’ve been a Mom for 30 years, and the whole “empty nest” thing is going to require some adjustment.  (The dog may not survive all the attention.)

If there’s anything I am looking forward to when it’s just me and Beloved, it’s that I won’t have to worry – too often, anyway – about accommodating the palate of a very picky eater.  For the time being, the only time this isn’t an issue is when The Young One is out and about with his friends; yes, that’s been more often than not the last six months, but the last few weeks he’s been kind of sticking close to home.  Separation anxiety, maybe?  At any rate, when he’s avoiding the National Guard safely ensconced in the hallowed halls of Kent State University, I’ll have more time for cooking things, well, like this.

With the exception of a couple of roasts, this is the last of Bambi’s Mom the deer we were gifted last autumn.  Like beef and pork tenderloin, venison tenderloin is quite tender (duh) and very lean, requiring it be cooked on the medium-rare side.  Searing it, then finishing in the oven, is the best way to accomplish this, and the use of an instant-read thermometer is almost mandatory.

Because an overcooked deer is a dry, tough deer.

The blueberry-red wine reduction came about because it is blueberry season and they’re dirt cheap right now.  (Okay, yes, they’re delicious, too.)  Honestly, though, they pair really well with a good quality, dry red wine (I believe I used a red zinfandel) and fresh thyme; the sauce was just lovely and complemented the rich, slightly gamey flavor of the venison really well.

The recipe is not only delicious, but also quite easy – the hardest thing about the dish is the reduction, and it takes all of about 15 minutes.  It would also go quite well with beef or pork tenderloin, if you don’t have the venison.

Venison Tenderloin with Blueberry-Red Wine Reduction. In this classically styled dish, flavorful venison is paired with a sweet-tart blueberry sauce.

Click on the image to enlarge

Venison Tenderloin with Blueberry-Red Wine Reduction
Serves: 2
  • 2 venison tenderloins (about 2 inches thick and 4 inches long), patted dry
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Generously season the tenderloins with the salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large oven proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 thyme sprigs and 2 crushed garlic cloves and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Place the venison in the skillet and sear 2 minutes per side.
  3. Transfer the skillet to the oven for 7 minutes, or until the venison is medium rare, or has reached an internal temperature of 135 F. Remove from the oven; tent loosely with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a wide, shallow sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and remaining thyme and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Add the wine and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until reduced by half.
  5. Stir in the blueberries and honey and cook on medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring and lightly mashing the berries with the back of a large wooden spoon. Pass the blueberry sauce through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the solids, and set aside.
  6. Cut the tenderloins into 1/4″ slices and plate, fanned out across the surface. Spoon the sauce over the venison and serve.
  7. Nutrition (per serving): 433 calories, 21.9g total fat, 42.7mg cholesterol, 156.4mg sodium, 555.5mg potassium, 26.1g carbohydrates, 2.4g fiber, 17.8g sugar, 18.7g protein

7 thoughts on “Venison Tenderloin with Blueberry-Red Wine Reduction”

  1. Look at you go! I bet it gives you peace of mind to have The Young One’s college financials all wrapped up – I might be seeking your advice on all that fun in about 8 years or so – you know, provided your memory doesn’t get clouded by then. 😉 I’m simultaneously looking forward to and dreading the Empty Nest mode – though we’ll end up being as old as Moses by the time that happens, what with Little Dude only being 5. Hopefully we’ll still be spry and active and have all our motor functions by the time he moves out! 😀

    Yet another amazingly succulent awesome wonderful recipe!! I’m going to have to see about getting some venison to make it the way you did – maybe I’ll not tell the hubby it’s venison and see how he likes it since he’s not a big venison fan. If he figures it out (he might not, not with all the extra hot sauce he adds to *everything*, but you never know) then I might try it with beef just for grins. 😉

  2. This looks so good, Jan. When My dad was still living he would always give us a little of the venison he got hunting. But I don’t know any generous hunters where we live now. I’d make this in a NY minute if I could get any venison.

  3. Venison has become one of my favorite meats, and this preparation is at the top of my list. The blueberry reduction was awesome!

  4. Hmmm, this looks scrumptious… I would add to try it with some Dunn’r River Everyday Seasoning to add a very tasty effect.

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