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Barbecue Secrets

Final Recipe of the Week for 2011: Grilled Venison Tenderloin with Cumberland Sauce

Sep 23, 2011

Makes 4 servings

I love the gamy taste and silky texture of venison tenderloin, which needs to be cooked rare to medium-rare. This recipe treats the venison very simply, but dresses it up with a lovely, complex, old-school British sauce that I found in The Joy of Cooking. Serve this dish as a course on its own; it doesn’t need any accompaniment but its own sauce, which can be served warm or cold.

Of course, this recipe would also work well with good old beef tenderloin, or pork tenderloin for that matter!

For the venison:

one 1 lb venison tenderloin

kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

olive oil 

For the Cumberland sauce:

1/2 cup | 125 mL slivered almonds

1 tsp | 5 mL dry mustard

1 Tbsp | 15 mL brown sugar

1/4 tsp | 1 mL powdered ginger

a pinch of cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp | 1 mL kosher salt

1/4 tsp | 1 mL ground cloves

1 1/2 cups | 375 mL port wine

1/2 cup | 125 mL seedless golden raisins

2 tsp | 10 mL cornstarch

2 Tbsp | 30 mL cold water

1/4 cup | 60 mL red currant jelly

1/2 Tbsp | 7.5 mL finely grated orange rind

1/2 Tbsp | 7.5 mL finely grated lemon rind

1/4 cup | 50 mL orange juice

2 Tbsp | 30 mL lemon juice

2 Tbsp | 30 mL Grand Marnier liqeur 

Lightly toast the almonds in a sauté pan over medium heat, taking care not to burn them. Set the almonds aside.

            Combine the mustard, sugar, ginger, cayenne, salt, cloves, port, raisins, and toasted almonds in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture for 8–10 minutes.

            Thoroughly combine the cornstarch and cold water and stir the mixture into the sauce. Let it simmer for about 2 minutes. Stir in the jelly, orange and lemon rind, and orange and lemon juice until you have a smooth, glossy mixture. Set the sauce aside.

            Prepare your grill for direct high heat. Season the venison tenderloin with salt and pepper and wet it with a little oil.  Grill it, turning it often for just a few minutes, until the exterior is nicely charred and the tenderloin reaches a core temperature of no more than 120°F | 50°C. Remove the meat from the grill and set it aside to rest, loosely tented with foil, for 5 minutes.

            While the tenderloin is resting, heat up the sauce and stir in the Grand Marnier just before serving.

            Slice the tenderloin into 3/4 inch | 2 cm medallions and arrange the slices on plates. Spoon the sauce over the meat and serve.

Photo copyright John Sinal Photography, used with permission.