How to Cook Fresh Deer Tenderloins - Two Methods
I have been eating venison (whitetail deer) since my father started hunting deer in Wisconsin, about 20 years ago. Venison tastes great if done right and is much less fatty than beef. The tenderloins have always been a favorite of mine, but I have not personally ever cooked them. I don't live right by my parents any more, although I'm not too far away, so I am not usually there when dad first gets his deer. My parents always have the tenderloins the night my dad brings the deer home, so I usually only get to enjoy sausage or roasts now at my parents' house. Those are also scrumptious.
This year my neighbor was kind enough to share some of his fresh venison loins with us and I was ecstatic, but a little nervous about cooking them. I asked my hunter friends, my mom and a chef relative how I should cook them. These are the two methods I used after talking to them and they both were wonderful and easy! I am so happy that my husband loved them too, he walked in at dinnertime and said the house smelled wonderful. These were two very successful recipes, thank you to those I consulted with before my adventure in cooking venison!
- 2 lbs fresh venison tenderloins, cut into strips or medallions
- 1 can sliced mushrooms, or fresh
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 4-5 green onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 tsp sea salt, freshly ground
- 1 tsp pepper, freshly ground
- 1 tsp seasoning blend, I used BBQ and Fajita seasoning
- To make the mushroom gravy
- 1 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp unbleached flour, or all purpose
- Cut venison tenderloins into strips or medallions. Season both sides with salt, pepper and other seasonings.
- Melt 2 Tbsp butter into cast iron skillet and heat to medium heat. I think cast iron is really the way to go with pans, you can always reseason them when they are getting older. It's also easy to do with any old pans you might buy in a second hand store or garage sale.
- Add onions, garlic and mushrooms into the heated skillet. I used half of my tenderloins for the stove-top method. Place them in the skillet and cook on the first side for about 4-5 minutes. It does not take long for these to cook up and there is very little fat in them, so they can get tough if overcooked.
- Stir the vegetables and flip the tenderloins. It should only take about 3 minutes on the second side, the loins are done very quickly, so try to keep them a little pink on the inside. Remove the loins.
- Add another Tbsp of butter to the skillet, scrape the bottom to get all the yummy bits, and then make a rue with the 2 Tbsp of flour. Once that is fairly smooth, slowly add the milk into the skillet to make the gravy. This is delicious gravy! Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Serve over loins and potatoes.
- For the second method, preheat oven to 350°. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and place the other half of tenderloins in the dish. I used my 8 x 8 inch Pyrex glass dish for baking. I love Pyrex, the clean up is so easy!
- Cover the loins with a can of cream of mushroom soup. Bake in oven for 30 - 35 minutes. Check the loins at about 25 minutes, they really vary in thickness so some of them may cook in a shorter time. Cut into one of the loins to check if it is done. You do want them to be slightly pink so that they stay tender.
- Remove from the oven and let these cool a bit, the cream of mushroom soup makes an excellent gravy. It also keeps the tenderloins very tender. Serve with some mashed potatoes and corn and enjoy! Of course, you made need some dinner rolls to sop up all the extra gravy, it is fabulous!