Sunday, November 15, 2009

Venison Loin with Red Wine and Cherry Sauce & Sweet Potato Fries

This week I set out to find a venison recipe and when I can across venison loin with red wine and cherry sauce, I thought the combo of ingredients sounded interesting. Thanks to Adam's dad's wonderful supply of venison, we tried the recipe on Friday night.

I found this recipe on but it was originally printed in Cooking Light, November 2006. Below is the recipe according to how I made, which includes modifications from the original recipe.

5 shallots, peeled and quartered
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 venison tenderloins, trimmed (about 9 ounces each)
kosher salt
5 sprigs fresh rosemary, leave chopped
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup cabernet sauvignon or other dry red wine
3/4 cup dried cherries
1 1/2 cups less-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine shallots and 2 teaspoons oil; toss well. Arrange shallots in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan.

Rub venison evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt, half of the chopped rosemary and some pepper. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add venison; cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove venison from pan; arrange on top of shallots in roasting pan. Bake at 400° for 17 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145° (medium-rare, but I cooked it closer to well done and it still tasted good!). Remove venison and shallots from pan. Keep venison warm. Chop shallots.

Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, wine, and cherries; cook until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes), scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt and the remaining chopped rosemary; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 2 cups (about 5 minutes). Combine 1 tablespoon water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in butter and juice. Cut venison across grain into thin slices; serve venison with sauce.

Adam took this candid of me while slicing the venison. Notice the lovely peony demi apron - a birthday gift from Rebecca!

I am a huge fan of sweet potatoes and this time of the year I have even more cravings for them. Candied sweet potatoes with lots of brown sugar and butter are my favorite but a close second are sweet potato fries. Thanks to Adam's patience and precise chopping skills, we made these delicious. While these oven fries didn't turn out as crispy as we had hoped, they were still tasty!

Sweet Potato Fries from Our Best Bites

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes*
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t cumin (We did not use)
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t coriander (We did not use)
1 t kosher salt
1 t parsley
fresh ground pepper (about 10 turns of a pepper mill)

*you want 1lb sweet potatoes after they are peeled, sliced, etc. If you weigh them at the store make sure you have a little more than a pound to allow for the peeling, and tossing of small pieces.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spray a cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray (don't use foil on the cookie sheet).

Slice your sweet potatoes into french fry shape and size - about 1/4 inch thick. Cutting them larger, like steak fries, will sometimes result in a big soggy mess, so stay small to get the best results.

Put the sweet potatoes in a bowl and drizzle the olive oil over them. Use your hands to make sure each one is coated. If you've got more than a pound of sweet potatoes, add a little extra olive oil. Then sprinkle on all of the herbs and spices and continue to toss until well coated.Place the fries on the baking sheet. It's very important that they are not touching.

Place cookie sheet in pre-heated oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes take pan of oven and flip the fries with a big spatula. Make sure they're spaced out again.

Bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown

Take them out of the oven and serve immediately. They cool off very quickly so they're best eaten right away. Serves about 4.


  1. I've never cooked venison, but this sauce sounds amazing!

  2. I think the sauce would be good with beef too!

  3. I wish Adam took more candids of you to include in your posts. You're so darn cute!! Great recipes and explanations... as usual1 :)