This spiced venison tenderloin will blow the doors off your Halloween party.
Do you have a Halloween or autumn favorite recipe that you like to share with your guests during your “spooky” Halloween costume party? Try this venison tenderloin with roasted apples and you’ll have repeat guests year after year.
This recipe begins with venison tenderloins. Hunters new to the sport, and even some of us old-timers, might not be aware that the absolute best piece of venison is the tenderloin, not the backstrap. There seems to be a widespread misconception about the two.
The tenderloins are much smaller than the backstrap, only about 10 to 12 inches, and are located inside the deer’s abdominal cavity, beneath the spine and toward the tail end.
The only way to reach them is by field-dressing the deer and cutting them away. This can be messy, but they are so worth a few extra seconds of effort to extract them with perfection.
Weigh out the tenderloin and put aside two pounds (1 pound per tenderloin).
Venison Tenderloins with Roasted Apples
- 2 1-pound venison tenderloins
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra as needed
- 3 cloves garlic (mashed or finely minced)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 4 tart apples peeled, cored, and quartered
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons cold butter cut into small pieces
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, pepper, salt, and maple syrup. Add the venison tenderloins to the bowl and toss them with the spice mix to coat.
Heat a large oven-safe sauté pan (large enough to hold the apples and the venison tenderloin) over medium heat until hot. Add enough oil to coat the surface of the pan, then add the venison tenderloins and sear on all sides. While the venison tenderloins are searing, toss the apples in the large bowl with any remaining spice mix to coat.
When the venison tenderloins are seared, remove the pan from heat and scatter the apples around the venison tenderloins in the pan. Place the pan, now with both the apples and tenderloins, in the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted in the center of the venison tenderloins reaches 135 degrees, 20-30 minutes, or to desired texture of meat.
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Remove the pan from the oven and remove venison tenderloins and apples from the pan to a platter or cutting board. Place the pan back onto the stove over medium-high heat. Deglaze the pan, removing and dissolving browned food residue from a pan to make a sauce, with the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any browned bits remaining.
Stir in the chicken broth and simmer until the sauce is reduced by about two-thirds and slightly thickened, roughly 3-5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the butter bits to thicken the sauce and add a nice soft luster on the surface.
Gently toss the apples with the sauce to coat. Grab a nice Halloween platter and place the apples nicely around the outside edges. Slice the venison tenderloins into thin pieces and arrange in the center of the platter with the apples on the outside. Garnish the platter with miniature pumpkins and squash for a Halloween theme.
This plate will be so good that all of your family and friends will want to steal the thunder for their Halloween parties next year.