first, let me preface this recipe with a bit of a story:
i used to be really, Really against hunting. i just couldn’t understand it. i thought it was barbaric. and then my little brother got his doctorate in wildlife preservation and oh so kindly and patiently explained to me that if we humans didn’t hunt, other creatures like deer would increase in population to the point where they would be starving to death. slowly, painfully, starving to death because people like me thought we were too good to consider ourselves a part of the food chain.
so. now, knowing that i am a part of taking care of the Greater Good of the deer world, i enjoy the fruits of my family’s hunting labours. in fact, i now realize it is a free-range, local, sustainable, and (now here’s something you don’t find often accompanying the previous three) FREE option for protein.
okay, so that’s the back story. now let’s move on to the two-fold story that then, finally, dear heavens, leads us to the recipe.
the new cut story: i received some cuts of venison from my family at christmas. i knew how to use quite a bit of it (stew meat, ground sausage-plenty of old standby recipes for these), but there was one long, narrow package that said “loin” that was purportedly from a younger deer. i knew that meant it would be very tender, and not gamey tasting at all, so i didn’t want to waste it. i wanted to highlight this special treat.
the new recipes story: i was recently a part of a “recipe swap” of sorts that was run by katiekate. she gathered a week’s worth of recipes from a bunch of us and then collected it all in a great little cookbook, called “best week ever.” so i was flipping through the recipe book, looking for something new and thinking about that loin that had been waiting for me to figure out what to do with it. some of the recipes, i am not going to lie, were just not my style because they had things like canned creamofwhatever soups in them, or pre-made meatballs that you then cut into smaller pieces (i thought, hmm, wouldn’t browning ground beef have been easier?). and no offense to those who have been taught that those are the ways to save time in the kitchen and still have edible meals, but i think these folks have been sorely mislead.
then i found Margie, who had included a large-batch recipe for pesto in her list. pesto! from scratch! that’s Beyond not using canned creamof soups, for sure. trust had been regained. and the recipe right after it, like kismet, was for a roasted pork loin. with garlic and rosemary and olive oil, three of my favorite friends. (margie wants you to know that it’s not really her recipe, instead it’s one she got off All Recipes, and modified it according to the comments, and then i took her recipe and adjusted it for venison and other little kitchen idiosyncracies of mine. anyway.)
i knew this recipe was meant to meet my venison loin.
and so they did. and people, that loin was amazing. and the “sauce” was amazing. and it took me right smack dab back into bistro 17eme, where two years ago i finally -after three failed attempts at eating french food while in france- was introduced to the bliss that is the true french meal.
it was rich, it was like there had to be all that butter that julia childs talked about hiding in real french food. but people. THERE WAS NO BUTTER. you know a recipe is good when it fools you into thinking it’s decadent when it’s really just the alchemy of the right ingredients and the right cooking methods melding into one perfect flavour palate.
and did i mention the whole plate was over 80% local? ’twas. thanks to the garden out back, the year-long pseudo-farmer’s market, and a family that hunts: a sustainable meal that tasted like a fancy night in paris.
so without further ado….
(oh wait! but first! did i mention i made two pies and a galette while this was in the oven? oh yes. i did. i’ll tell you about it next week.)
roasted venison loin
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
salt and pepper to taste (i used kosher salt and toasted white pepper, which may very well have made more difference than one would think.)
2 pounds boneless venison loin
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup white wine
preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). whir up the garlic with rosemary, salt, and pepper with a little olive oil, making a paste. (i used the magic bullet, adding the olive oil later. you could use a morter and pestle, or food processor, or what have you.) pierce meat with a sharp knife in several places and spread the paste over the loin, making sure as much as possible gets into the openings. (not much of mine did, to be honest, but it didn’t seem to matter.) put into oven-safe dish, pour the rest of the 1/4 olive oil over the loin.
place loin into oven, turning and basting with pan liquids. (totally forgot to do this. busy with the aforementioned pies. again, didn’t seem to matter.) cook until the loin is no longer pink in the center, about 1 hour. since this will vary Greatly depending on the circumference of the loin, And since every time you slice into meat to check its color you will be releasing its juices and essentially Ruining it, i suggest an instant-read thermometer. inserted into the center it should read 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).
when it has reached the proper temperature, remove roast to a platter. cover.
heat the wine in the pan and stir to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom. let simmer away for a bit, removing the alcohol taste and letting the flavors meld.
serve loin with your favorite creamy potato option (ours was whipped potatoes, whisked in the kitchenaid with cream cheese, salt + pepper, and a little raw milk), pouring the pan juices over both if you want to get crazy.
light candles. pour wine. play french music.
enjoy the fruits of your communal labours.