By Ambassador Rich Malloy
While grilled venison backstraps and burgers have their place, this beautiful meat we harvest is much more versatile. It can be braised or smoked, cured or even eaten raw. I often find myself stepping outside of my comfort zone inside the kitchen when cooking venison, which leads me to the recipe in this article: Sous Vide Venison.
The sous vide was introduced to me a few years ago by my brother / Executive Chef, Pete. Now, let me say, you do not need to use a sous vide to get a perfect medium rare finish, but it sure does help.
So what is a sous vide? It’s a way of cooking at a controlled temp, submerged in a container of water. Drop your meat into a large ziplock bag or air sealed food saver bag, add some herbs, fat, spices, really whatever you like. Set your time and temp and you’re good to go.
For this recipe it’s best to use the more tender cuts of venison like eye of round (the hidden tenderloin), backstrap or large tenderloins. I do not recommend using TLs from a small deer because they are easy to overcook. Hit those in a hot cast iron pan with some butter for 2-3 minutes per side and they’re done.
Sous Vide Venison Backstrap
In the bag:
Stalk of rosemary
Hunk of unsalted grass-fed butter
2 garlic cloves, hand crushed
I prefer to add salt and pepper after it’s finished in the sous vide.
Set your sous vide to 120°, fully submerge the air tight bag in the pot or container and clip the bag to the side. If needed, check out this tutorial on how to air seal a ziplock bag.
From here, let your venison cook for a minimum of 1.5 hours. The larger the cut, the more time is needed. For reference, a quarter backstrap from a normal size deer will be 2 hours.
As the venison is taking its water bath, you can prep and cook the rest of your meal. One of the added benefits of cooking with the sous vide is timing becomes much easier. The meal will not overcook in the water bath. This allows you to clean up, relax and not rush around while in the kitchen.
When your venison is done pull it out of the water bath and take it out of the bag. Place the venison into a very hot cast iron pan and get a sear on all sides. Remember, the meat is already cooked to perfection, now your just searing the outside. Be careful not to overcook it!
Rest it for 10 minutes and then slice across the grain.
Miso Sweet Potato Purée
1 tbsp Miso paste
1 - 2 tbsps Butter
Salt + pepper
This is easy. Skin and boil your sweet potatoes, don’t forget to salt the water. Strain the water from the sweet potatoes (save a cup of that water) when they are fork tender and add them into your blender. From here, add a tablespoon of miso paste and a little butter. I like to use organic white miso. Blend it together and taste for salt. Add back in some of the water used to boil the potatoes to adjust consistency to your liking. Crack some black pepper on top before serving.
Roasted beet salad
You can pair any veggie you like with venison and sweet potatoes. I’ll often use arugula with some lemon and olive but for this dish I had some extra beets that I roasted the previous day. Salads like roasted beet like this are simple: evoo, acid, herbs, salt and pep.
This can also be served as a warm salad.
Roasted beets (skins off)
Cilantro (mint or basil work well here if you’re in the “cilantro taste like soap,” gang)
Lemon juice and zest
Crumbled goat cheese (can substitute with feta or blue cheese)
Salt + pepper
Dice your beets and onions and roughly chop your cilantro. Add your olive oil and lemon juice then season with salt and pepper, mix everything. Zest some lemon before serving.
To plate I like to place the venison on top of the sweet potato purée. Serve the beet salad on the sides. The colors of this dish are amazing as well as the flavors! Enjoy!”