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17 December 2014

Bacon rolled venison tenderloin under wine-cranberry sauce on a arugula pillow

Last days turned to be so windy in Hamburg that you sometimes feel yourself being literally blown away. But its just typically here, no reason to wonder. Hamburg is beautiful at any weather. At the other hand, last weeks were very special for food-lovers. Firstly, you can find a wide range of meat on the shelves of supermarkets: venison, wild boar, rabbit, goose, duck etc. Secondly, the Christmas markets are already opened. Everywhere!  A smell of freshly baked maroons mixed with sweet flavors of Stollen - a typical Christmas bread originally from Dresden, and the spicy aroma of a hot wine - Glühwein in German. Do you already feel Christmas knocking on your door?! Yeap, holidays are coming. Almost a week left. Let us go wild!

I was surprised and confused when my husband brought venison from the supermarket. I have never tried one, so I wondered: What would it taste like? What should be the best combination? Is it tastier with a sweet note or better salty? The next couple of hours I found myself at the laptop searching for the information, nutritional facts and the best combinations. I watched videos from the famous chefs, read articles and now I’m ready to share the “wild” facts and the best recipe choice with you.

And don’t be afraid. No special requirements from you. Just a strong desire and a little bit of your precious time.

By the way, deer meat is high in nutritional value. It contains iron, which is good for those, who have a lack of it, as well as vitamin B2 that will speed the metabolism. If you think that venison as wild meat has gamey smell I assure you – not at all. The taste is very juicy with a tender sour-sweet note if you cook it the way I advise.


I’ve used a shoulder part of venison. If you are lucky to buy venison tenderloin, that is even better. The deer meat has a dark color, and that is explained with the following: deer are very active and the oxygen goes through their muscles in big amounts. Therefore they become darker. That explains why chicken meat (especially from those raised by big suppliers) is very bright.

My favorite recipe combines medium rare bacon rolled lean meat under the wine-cranberry sauce on the arugula pillow.

Get some patience and prepare the following ingredients:

300 g venison loin or shoulder
4 thin stripes of lean bacon
100 ml dry red wine
100 g dried cranberries
1 tsp sour cherry jam or wind berries jam* (optional)
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
handful of arugula
salt, pepper

Let us prepare everything step by step:

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Wash the meat and cut the needed piece so that you can roll it into the bacon stripes afterwards (see picture below).

Salt and pepper the piece of venison from all sides. Roll it as shown on the picture. The bacon dress protects the lean meat and keeps it juicy and tender.

*I cooked one piece of venison. The other is just for comparison. 

Step 2

Put olive oil and butter into a frying pan. The best choice is a pan that can be put into the oven afterwards. Otherwise prepare a baking form or a piece of foil. Heat the pan and fry the rolled piece from all sides for about 10 minutes in total. The sign of perfection is the crispy golden-brown bacon crust.

Step 3

Put the meat into the oven for 7 minutes sharp. And now ATTENTION, please!
Take venison out of the oven and put it aside. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes. It enables the juices to get back from the center, where they concentrated because of the heat, all over the piece. As a result you get a perfect juicy and tender, yet medium rare venison with a bacon crust full of flavors.

Step 4

Meanwhile we can prepare a wine-cranberry sauce that will complement the taste of the meat with some sour-sweet notes. So, finely chop the onion. Fry it in a saucepan with some olive oil mixed with butter (1 tsp of each). Add a pinch of salt. When the onion is brown add cranberries and jam*.  In a minute pour 100 ml of wine and let it boil for a while. Wine should evaporate so that the sauce gets a bit thicker. Afterwards blend the sauce using a stick mixer.

Serve sliced venison on a arugula pillow with a sauce topping.

Let you enjoy the fullness of the taste. Every single piece brings a magic combination of smoky flavor, sour and sweet notes of the sauce, as well as a tender juicy meat.

All in all, enjoy.

Because good food is always a good idea. Especially, when it is "wild" :)

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