Venison steaks with a red wine reduction*

Our plumber gave us venison in return for the use of one of our shotguns. Such a deal!

Venison Steaks with a Wine Reduction
(serves two)

For the sauce:

2 t. vegetable oil
2 shallots, chopped small
10 ounces mushrooms, sliced thin
2 t. crumbled dried rosemary (or 1 T. fresh, chopped)
1 cup full-bodied red wine
1 cup really good stock – beef is best, but chicken works fine
1 T. butter
2 t. flour
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of sugar (optional)

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until they wilt and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the rosemary and mushrooms and continue to cook until all the moisture has cooked out of the mushrooms and they’re thoroughly brown, about 10 minutes).

Add the wine and cook until it almost completely evaporates, then add the stock. Turn the heat to low, and cook until the stock volume has reduced by about a third.

While that’s cooking, make a roux by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir it into the butter. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the roux begins to brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the roux to the sauce. If the sauce is still too thin, cook it down a bit more. If it’s too thick, add a little water until it’s right. Add salt and pepper, and sugar, if you’re using it (I find a little sugar cuts the acidity of the wine, but you may not need it).

For the steaks:

12 ounces venison steaks
Salt and pepper to taste

Position a cast-iron pan, preferably one with ridges on the bottom, under your oven’s broiler. Turn the broiler on and let the pan get very hot – this takes about 15 minutes. While the pan heats, sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper.

When the pan is hot, add the steaks and broil just until the meat is rare. For ¾-inch thick venison steaks, that’s only about four minutes. Time will vary depending on the meat and the oven, but it’s very important not to overcook venison. Err on the side of too little time – you can always put it back.

Serve the steaks with the sauce.