Venison Tenderloins with Blackberry Sauce

For some people, the very thought of venison just turns their stomachs. Most likely, they have never had venison prepared the right way, and if they did, it was still probably pretty bad. A lot goes into to making good venison that is as equally appealing to the eye as it is to the taste buds. Hopefully this dish will help turn the tide back in venison’s rightful favor. The blackberry sauce in this recipe adds some extra flavor that really blends well with the sweet potatoes and pulls everything together. This is a simple recipe. One of the easier ones in my opinion. My wife proclaimed as she was declaring this recipe the best meal of the week, “This would make a wonderful fall dish”. Maybe so. But for me, anytime is a good time for venison.

Venison Tenderloins with Blackberry Sauce and Sweet Potatoes

Venison Tenderloins with Blackberry Sauce and Sweet Potatoes

Venison Tenderloins with Blackberry Sauce

  • 1 to 2 pounds of venison tenderloins or steaks
  • Salt, pepper, garlic
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Olive Oil
  • Blackberries
  • Red Wine
  • Beef Stock

Wow. Now that’s a lot of ingredients.  It’s not bad, trust me. To start things off, make sure your venison is in small, thin, manageable pieces. Pat them dry and add some salt and pepper to both sides. I like to use larger granular sea salt. This way I can see where the salt is.

Salted Venison

Salted Venison

Next, we have to get some sweet potatoes ready. These guys take the longest to cook so getting them in the oven at the start helps time everything at the end so all the food is done together. Dice a couple sweet potatoes into cubes or chunks and place them in a baking dish. In a mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup olive oil, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.  Stir it all together and pour it over the sweet potatoes. Stir the potatoes and mixture together so all the potatoes chunks are coated then put them in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes.

Sauced up Sweet Potatoes

Sauced up Sweet Potatoes

Now its time for the venison. In a larger skillet, pour in about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and turn up the heat. A very high hot skillet is mandatory for making good pan seared venison. Once the oil is smoking, add the venison tenderloins in batches. The combination of  the hot skillet and dry venison creates that sear that makes the venison taste so good. It also leaves lots of flavor chunks on the bottom of the skillet that we will need for later making the blackberry sauce. Only cook each side of the venison for about 1 minute depending on the thickness of the cuts.

Side A cooking for about 1 minute on a hot skillet

Side A cooking for about 1 minute on a hot skillet

Side B. As you can see, flavor crusts have formed

Side B. As you can see, flavor crusts have formed

 

Continue to cook the rest of the venison this way. As it is cooked, remove from the skillet and place them on a plate covered tightly with aluminum foil. This prevents the venison from cooling down too much. It also creates a mini oven where the venison that may be just slightly under-cooked can still cook just a little more from the ambient higher temperatures trapped inside.

Here is where the blackberry sauce comes in. With the skillet still hot and all of the venison cooked and removed, add in some finely chopped garlic. Do not discard any of the juices gathered in the pan from cooking all that venison.

Garlic browning in the hot juices left over

Garlic browning in the hot juices left over

Next, add in some red wine. I used about a cup. I just sort of poured it in there, but I’ve done this before so I kind of guessed. Also, add in maybe a half cup of beef stock. This just helps mellow out the flavor a little. Use a wooden spoon and scrape up all the flavor bits stuck on the bottom of the skillet. Bring all this to a simmer and pour in a carton of blackberries.

Blackberries, garlic, red wine, and beef stock

Blackberries, garlic, red wine, and beef stock

Bring all of this back to simmer and squish the blackberries against the bottom of the skillet until all of the juices begin to release. Once they do, add in about 2 tablespoons of blackberry jelly and continue to stir until it all smooths out. Add extra jelly and berries for a sweeter sauce.

Blackberry sauce that is officially ready

Blackberry sauce that is officially ready

By this time the sweet potatoes should be about done. Pour a little blackberry sauce on top of the venison and enjoy! Hopefully you like this recipe as much as we did. If you do, please leave a comment and let me know!

This was my wife’s plate!

This was my wife’s plate!