Monday, February 11, 2013

Venison Medallions Steak Diane

Sunday night saw just the Foodie Husband and myself home for dinner as the Foodie Daughter had gone up to Indianapolis (or Indy) to visit our son, his wife, and our grandson.
In preparation for a rare dinner for two, I had dug the remaining two venison medallions out of the freezer and placed them in the refrigerator to thaw.  Then I searched the Internet for a nice recipe.

I quickly found an old standard, Venison a la Diane, or Venison Medallions Steak Diane.  In the 50s and 60s, Steak Diane, made with Beef Filet Mignon, was a standard on the menus of upscale restaurants.  However, as this dish was named after Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, venison was the original meat of choice for the dish.  Sauce Diane was first mentioned by Escoffier in 1907, so this dish has been around for a while.

I made some changes to the recipe noted in the link above, but there are truly dozens of variations of Steak Diane, so I am certain that one more variation will not hurt anyone.

But first the side dish.
I have an old Jenn Air range with just two burners and a grill, which means that I usually can only use one burner at a time unless I am using two small pots at the same time.  
Since I needed a large pan to saute the broccoli after I first blanched it, I needed to finish the broccoli before attending to the venison medallions.  It's a pain to cook meals this way, but a Foodie does what a Foodie has to do.

Here the broccoli has just been blanched.  Dunk in salted boiling water for 30 seconds before immediately plunging in ice water to cool.  This sets the vivid green color.  
Then dry on a clean kitchen towel.  This step can be done ahead of time.

I have to admit that I prefer my broccoli raw, but I decided to do something different this time.

serves 2

1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil 
Black pepper
3 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Parmigiano Reggiano, for serving

Mix the brown sugar and the cheese together and set aside.

Saute the broccoli in the olive oil and add the salt and black pepper.  I opted to omit the red pepper flakes as the Foodie Husband does not appreciate heat.

After the broccoli was finished cooking, I tossed it with the cheese mixture and placed it in a warm oven while I worked on the venison.

Venison a la Diana
serves 2

2 venison medallions
black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon onion, minced
1 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 cup venison stock or beef broth*
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Enough heavy cream to turn the sauce the color of coffee-with-cream, about 1/4 cup
Minced herbs for garnish (basil, parsley, chives, etc)**

*I didn't have beef stock in the freezer, so I had to resort to *gasp* beef base dissolved in hot water.  I also neglected to re-read the recipe and accidentally used 1 cup instead of 1/2 cup, so it took longer to reduce the sauce.  Live and learn.

**Sadly, tis the wrong time of year for fresh herbs, so no lovely garnish for the dish at the end.

  1. Bring the venison loin out of the fridge, salt it well and let it come to room temperature, at least 20 minutes.
  2. Heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat for about 90 seconds. Pat the venison dry with a paper towel and cook it on all sides. Turn the heat to medium so the butter doesn’t scorch, and take your time. It should take about 8-10 minutes or so to get a nice brown crust on the venison without overcooking the center. Remove the venison, tent loosely with foil and set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the saute pan and cook for 1 minute, then add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Don’t let the garlic burn. Deglaze the pan with the sherry, scraping off any stuck-on bits in the pan with a wooden spoon. Let the sherry cook down almost to a glaze, then add the beef stock, tomato paste, mustard and Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Let this boil down until a wooden spoon dragged across the pan leaves a trail behind it that does not fill in for a second or two. This should take about 3 minutes on high heat.
  4. Turn off the heat and let the boiling subside. Stir in the cream until the sauce is as light as you like. Don’t let the sauce boil again or it could break.
  5. Slice the venison into thick medallions. If you find you have not cooked it enough, let the meat swim in the sauce for a few moments to heat through. If the venison is to your liking, pour some sauce on a plate and top with the meat. Garnish with some chopped herbs. Chives are traditional, but basil and parsley are also nice. Serve with a big red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Petit Verdot or Graciano.

First I sauteed the venison medallions in the butter over medium to medium high heat. until nicely seared on all sides.  Then I removed the venison from the pan and covered them with foil to rest.

Even though I had read and re-read the recipe a couple of times, I still goofed.  I added the sherry before the onion and garlic.  But I did reduce the sherry nicely.

Now the onion and garlic have been added.

Then I added the remaining ingredients and reduced, reduced, reduced.  Especially since I added too much beef stock.  Just that much more flavor.

The recipe suggests that one use bread to sop up the extra sauce.  We were trying to be good and eat healthfully.  This was very good, even if my venison medallion was a bit gamy.

I would definitely recommend this sauce for venison or beef.

And the broccoli was divine as well.
Have the Parmigiano Reggiano and a grater on hand so that your guests can grate more cheese on top of the broccoli if desired.
What a lovely repast for a dinner for two.


Rosie Hawthorne said...

That sauce looks really good.
I'll have to try the brown sugar with the broccoli. Haven't had that before.

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