When Marx Foods sends you a package of this beautiful Cervena Venison, your mind starts running a mile a minute with recipe ideas. That’s how my mind works, anyway. But I could only choose two, so this is my second recipe, the first (in case you missed it) was Coffee Crusted Venison Chops with Parsnip Apple Puree.
I’ve only cooked with venison a couple of time before, so I was a little nervous with all the warnings to not overcook it. I mean, I would never do that to a beautiful piece of well-sourced meat anyway, but it added on a bit of pressure.
But honestly, this meat was so tender I barely needed a knife to cut it.
That may be in part to how it’s raised. The venison from Silver Fern Farms in New Zealand isn’t wild, but is left to do as deer please on huge open meadows– I’ve never been there myself, but I would imagine that includes a lot of grass nibbling and relaxing on sunny hillsides. That sounds like a nice life to me, and it’s in line with how I want the meat I eat to be raised.
But it also creates an incredibly tender meat that is lighter than wild venison (i.e. less gamy). I paired these leg medallions up with two flavors that venison likes a lot– red wine and horseradish.
The meat gets marinated in a red wine mixture for a couple of hours, adding flavor and tenderizing.
While you wait for the venison to have a nice long bath, you’ll want to mix up this horseradish cream, which proved to be quite popular by my live-in taste tester. I ate my fair share as well, since I recently got struck with a brutal cold and the horseradish was just about the only thing that offered any relief.
The medallions just get a quick sear in a hot cast iron pan. You want to serve venison rare to medium rare– because it’s so lean– but also to preserve the rich game flavor. The horseradish cream is bold without overpowering, and maple candied sweet potatoes make this plate even more cozy. Some humble swiss chard adds a bit of green, balances the bold flavors, and brings the meal full circle with another earthy element.
I’ve officially added this Cervena venison to my list of favorite meats. It’s crazy tender, has a unique flavor that is mild enough to pair with almost anything, and contrary to all of the warnings I received, it was really easy to work with.
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp salt
- black pepper
- 2-4 cervena venison leg medallions (about 1 lb)
- bacon grease or coconut oil
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2.5 tbs freshly grated horseradish root
- 1/2 tbs dijon mustard
- squeeze of lemon
- 1-2 sweet potatoes
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 tbs maple syrup
- 1/4-1/2 tsp chili powder*
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- salt, pepper
- 3-4 leaves swiss chard
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- Combine all ingredients for horseradish cream. Stir to combine and refrigerate, allowing flavors to meld for at least several hours.
- Combine all ingredients for marinade and stir to combine. Pour over venison medallions and refrigerate for 1-8 hours. Remove from refrigerator 1/2 hour prior to cooking.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Peel sweet potatoes and add to water, covering and cooking for about 15 minutes. Remove sweet potatoes but reserve water.
- Bring a cast iron pan to medium high heat and add bacon grease. Pat medallions dry, and add to the hot pan, cooking for about 3 minutes per side, being careful not to overcook. Remove from pan and allow to rest, covered with aluminum foil for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
- In a pan, melt butter over medium heat and add maple syrup, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Slice par-cooked sweet potato into thin rounds. Add rounds to pan along with chopped walnuts and toss to coat. Cook until potatoes are slightly browned and tender in the middle, shaking periodically and covering the pan if sauce reduces too quickly.
- Add swiss chard leaves stem down into the reserved pot of boiling water, cooking for about 2 minutes, until slightly wilted. Remove, drain, and toss with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
- Divide venison, potatoes, and swiss chard between two plates and serve with horseradish sauce.
I added 1/2 tsp of chili powder, but if you prefer you can reduce this to 1/4 tsp or leave it out entirely
Don't let me do all the talking! Let me know what you think in the comments.