Posted by: kriscdub | November 19, 2010

Deer Delicious: Venison Tenderloin in Mushroom Red Wine Sauce

It’s deer season here in Michigan, and that means it’s time to celebrate the most delicious meat that has ever been prepared by my hands in the hopes that soon there will be more in my freezer (I’m looking at you, Dad. You can pretend you don’t hear me because you’re in the UP and don’t have Internet, but I know you do). If I could only eat one type of meat for the rest of my life, it would be venison without question. It can be tough to get if you don’t have a hunter in your family, but if you get the chance, definitely try some venison. It’s lean and flavorful, with none of that gamey flavor that you can get with other wild meats, like bear. I’m just gonna suggest never eating bear. Perhaps if it had been prepared in a form other than Hamburger Helper Bear Stroganoff I would have liked it. But I doubt it. Venison, on the other hand, is great in just about anything, including tacos, chili, and biscuits and gravy. The tenderloin is, of course, amazing, as tenderloin tends to be, and this recipe highlights everything that is wonderful about it. Best of all, it is much easier to prepare than it looks or tastes. You can substitute beef if you can’t get your hands on any venison, and in fact the recipe is originally written for beef. It will still be delicious, and I will only be a little disappointed in you.

The ingredients:

You’ll notice that my tenderloin looks already cooked. Well, that’s because it is, partially. This particular tenderloin was left over from a Rotary dinner that my dad had something or other to do with, and they pre-cooked it a little to make prep easier. It doesn’t change the preparation here at all since you have to cook tenderloin so little anyway.

The wine is Penfold’s Shiraz. Any decent, dry red wine will do. I’m not a wine drinker, so I asked Garrick for recommendations. He suggested a cabernet or shiraz, with an Australian shiraz being more approachable for the non-aficionado like me. You’ll be drinking most of the wine, and cooking what you do use will concentrate the imperfections, so go for something decently drinkable.

First, chop your shallots. I only ended up using one. You only need about 1/3 cup. If your mushrooms are not pre-sliced, slice them up as well. I sifted through mine and cut the big pieces into smaller ones as well. They always leave some pieces that just seem absurdly large in there.

Your next step is cutting the meat into discs or strips. You want them to end up about 1/4″ thick. You can either cut them to size in long strips like I did or cut the tenderloin into about six equal pieces and pound with a mallet or the bottom of a can until they’re at the desired thickness. I chose to cut mine to size mostly because it was already partially cooked. It mostly depends on how you want it to look when it’s done: lots of small strips or a few larger medallions. Season the meat with salt and pepper.

Melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the venison until browned on the outside but still pink on the inside. This shouldn’t take more than about a minute per side. Since mine was already partially cooked, I gave them about 30 seconds a side. You may have to work in batches depending on how much meat you have and how large your skillet is. Remove the venison from the skillet and set aside for now. Try not to eat it yet.

Add more butter to the skillet. After it melts, add the shallots and mushrooms. Saute for about ten minutes until tender.

Sprinkle sugar over mushrooms and shallots and continue cooking until deep brown and caramelized. That deep brown always means delicious.

Add garlic, rosemary, thyme, flour, and red wine vinegar. Saute until liquid is absorbed.

The recipe did not specify dried or fresh herbs. I used fresh rosemary and dried thyme. Just remember that dried and fresh herbs will differ in strength, so check the flavoring before adding the venison back in.

Add broth and wine, then bring to a boil until the liquid is reduced to about a half a cup and you are reduced to tears by the aroma.

Add the venison to the pan until heated through. You don’t want to cook it more, just warm it up. Serve by placing a few strips of venison on a plate and spooning mushrooms and sauce over them. Devour, faint, have seconds.

Special thanks goes to Amanda for taking all the pictures after the first four. I was frazzled and she was in the kitchen.

Venison Tenderloin in Mushroom and Red Wine Sauce

Adapted from About

10-16oz venison (or beef) tenderloin

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons butter, divided

1 large shallot, minced

8 oz. sliced mushrooms

1/2 tablespoon white sugar

1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon rosemary

1/2 tablespoon flour

3/4 cup beef broth

3/4 cup dry red wine

Cut tenderloin into about 6 equal pieces. Place between sheets of wax paper and pound with a mallet or heavy can until about 1/4″ thick. Season with salt and pepper. Melt a tablespoon of butter to a skillet over medium-high heat and sear meat until brown on the outside but still red on the inside, up to about a minute on each side, in batches if needed. Remove venison from skillet and set aside. Turn down heat a little and melt remaining butter in skillet, then add mushrooms and shallot. Saute about 10 minutes until tender, sprinkle with sugar, and saute until deep brown. Add vinegar, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and flour. Saute until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add broth and wine. Bring to a boil until liquid is reduced to about half a cup. Add venison back to skillet until heated through. Serve venison with mushrooms and sauce spooned over top.



  1. I can definitely vouch for you. This recipe was DELICIOUS!

  2. Sorry dear – Dad struck out this year. Good news is Uncle Gary sent you sent venison but no tenderloin. Guess I’ll have to take up muzzleloading and archery! Recipe looks awesome and I’m glad you put the Rotary venison to good use.

  3. How many college students are there (who don’t live at home) can say the eat meals like this let alone create meals like this. Good Job Kristen!!!

  4. Hi!I saw you on another giveaway site, just trying to help people spread the word and refer for entries!, there’s a kawaii giveaway ( a big one ) going on so ill leave the url if you’re interested 🙂

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  5. I have been making venison for 30 years and this is the best recipe I have ever tried. GREAT JOB !!

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