Weeknight Shorts: Seared Venison Steak with Shallot-Cherry Sauce

I grew up in central Wisconsin in an area and a family devoted to deer hunting. Venison in everything from chili to stew feels normal and comforting to me. But steaks were always a special occasion meal and that makes sense when the table was surrounded by a big family, perhaps a friend or two, or maybe a cousin or aunt and uncle. But there are times when my table is surrounded by just my husband and me and that's when I get my opportunity to have those special occasion venison steaks. And that means turning on the fine dining experience!

Venison is very lean and cooks quickly, which means it's not only a healthy option, it's one that can be enjoyed even on a night when there's not much time for cooking. I like to use bacon fat for the searing since the meat has very little fat. Keep the seasoning pretty simple, though I like adding some heat to play opposite the sweetness in the sauce. Then make sure you keep the steaks warm while you prepare the sauce.

I like using dark, sweet cherries and their juice to make a simple sauce. If you don't have shallots, you could use minced red onion, garlic, or a little bit of each to get a similar flavor. If your sauce isn't thickening up or getting a gloss to it the way you'd like, consider adding up to a tablespoon of butter. It should bring it together as it melts. Then serve a bit of the sauce spooned over the tender steaks and enjoy!

Seared Venison Steak with Shallot-Cherry Sauce

  • 1 lb. boneless venison steaks
  • 1 tsp. Northwoods seasoning or other seasoned salt
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • 1 T. cooking fat (I used bacon fat)
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and finely diced
  • 16 oz. dark cherries in juice

Season the steaks generously with the seasoned salt and chili flakes; let rest while you prepare a skillet. Heat a cast iron or other heavy bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with the cooking fat of your choice in it. When the fat is hot, add the seasoned steak to the skillet and sear for 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the meat to a plate and keep warm.

Add the shallot to the hot skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Sauté the shallot until lightly browned. Drain the cherries and add the juice to the skillet and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer the liquid until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Add the cherries and simmer another 4 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thick and a little glossy.

Serve the steaks with a bit of sauce spooned over the top.

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.