Venison Steaks in Sweet-Sour Sauce

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From the Essential Pépin tv series, Episode 119: Game Day

Venison is traditionally served with a sweet-sour sauce. This one contains currant or raspberry jelly for sweetness and vinegar — cooked with shallots and added at the end — for a contrasting sour taste. Thoroughly trimmed of fat, venison steaks are very lean, quite flavorful, and rich, so 4 to 5 ounces of meat per person is adequate. Serve with Skillet Sweet Potatoes. —Jacques Pépin

Serves 4

1 venison loin or large tenderloin (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed of fat (about 1 pound trimmed) and cut into 4 steaks
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon currant jelly or seedless raspberry jam
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons hearty red wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Using a meat pounder, pound the steaks gently until each is about 3/4 inch thick. Rub the steaks with the oil and sprinkle with the thyme. Arrange the steaks in a single layer on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking. (The venison can marinate for up to 8 hours.)


Mix the ketchup, jelly, soy sauce, and water together in a small bowl. Set aside.

When you are ready to cook the steaks, heat the oven to 160 degrees.

Heat the peanut oil and butter in a large heavy skillet until hot. Sprinkle the steaks with the salt and pepper, place them in the skillet, and sauté over medium-high heat for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to an ovenproof plate (leaving the drippings in the pan) and keep warm in the oven while you make the sauce.

Add the shallot to the drippings and sauté for about 20 seconds. Add the vinegar and wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the jelly mixture and mix well, then stir in the butter. Boil for 10 seconds, and strain through a fine strainer.

Place a steak on each of four plates, coat the steaks with the sauce, and serve.

Copyright © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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