Steak and potatoes, the combination might be the perfect meal. Make that steak a section of venison backstrap, and the potatoes flavorful, tender fingerlings, and it gets even better. This is an easy, one-skillet meal that goes together in a hurry but tastes like you spent all day on it.
I prefer a piece of trimmed backstrap or whole tenderloins (I found a pack of four that had somehow remained hidden in the freezer since last season). The extra size keeps the venison from becoming overdone while the potatoes roast. Use an ovenproof skillet (iron skillets are perfect for this) so that you can go from the stovetop to the oven without changing pans.
Most larger groceries or specialty markets carry fingerling potatoes. They are small, finger-size potatoes, usually heirloom varieties, that cook fast and really pack in a lot of flavor. If you can’t find true fingerlings, just substitute small red or Yukon Gold potatoes.
You might need to quarter larger potatoes so that they cook through quickly. The addition of shallots adds another layer of flavor to the dish. Feel free to substitute pearl or sliced sweet onions if you can’t find shallots.
2 pounds venison backstrap or tenderloins
2 pounds fingerling potatoes, sliced in half, lengthwise
8 ounces peeled and halved shallots or whole pearl onions, peeled
1 stick of butter, cut into quarters
4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1 sprig fresh rosemary and 3-4 sprigs of thyme
1 cup white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Start by melting a quarter stick of butter over medium high heat. Salt and pepper the backstrap well. When the butter stops bubbling and starts to turn a golden brown, add the backstrap to the skillet. Sear the backstrap for one minute, rotate a quarter turn, sear for another minute and repeat until meat is browned on all sides. Remove meat from skillet to rest on a warm plate. Reduce heat to medium, add another quarter stick of butter. Once the butter has melted, add the potatoes, stirring and flipping to brown on all sides, total time about 5-8 minutes until the potatoes begin to soften. Add the garlic and shallots or onions and give everything a good stir. Salt and pepper the potatoes well and return the backstrap to the pan, nestling it down into the potatoes.
Move the pan to a preheated 350 degree oven. Roast, uncovered for 15 minutes. Move the meat and potatoes to a serving platter to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing meat. While the meat rests, return the skillet to the stovetop over medium heat. Add the white wine and scrape the pan bottom with a wooden spoon. Add the rosemary and thyme, crushing lightly with a spoon to release their flavor. Bring the wine to a boil and reduce by half, about five minutes. Turn off the heat and add the remaining butter. Stir to melt and blend everything into a creamy sauce. Spoon the sauce over the meat and potatoes before serving.
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