This is a wild game take on a classic comfort food recipe. Who hasn’t eaten beef stroganoff? Well, venison stroganoff is better. Thinly sliced pieces of venison backstrap, sauteed briefly in butter, mixed with mushrooms, shallots, dill and sour cream. This is filling, easy-to-eat winter food of the first order.
I’ve read a lot of stroganoff recipes in my time, and there is huge variation. A few things are pretty consistent, however. To be a stroganoff, you must have thinly sliced red meat — beef, lamb, venison, elk, etc. — sour cream, mushrooms, some sort of onion, and butter. Lots of butter.
My version of venison stroganoff relies on using at least two kinds of fresh mushrooms — cremini and shiitake — shallots, a splash of Madeira wine, and both fresh dill and a rarer ingredient, dill pollen, which you can omit if you can’t find it. You can buy dill pollen online from Earthy Delights, however.
As for the dairy, butter is the fat and sour cream is the sauce. Can you loosen it with some heavy cream? You bet. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I did not in the photo.
As for a starch, I like traditional egg noodles; it’s what I grew up with. You could do anything from some other sort of pasta to rice to polenta or bread. Mashed potatoes might be nice, too.
This recipe is loosely based on my friend Elise’s Beef Stroganoff recipe.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 pounds venison steaks
- 2 large shallots, minced
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1/4 pound sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1/4 pound sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- Pinch of cayenne pepper, about 1/8 teaspoon
- 1/4 cup Madeira wine
- 1 cup sour cream at room temperature
- Dill pollen to garnish (optional)
- Heavy cream, to loosen sauce (optional)
- 1 pound wide egg noodles
- Get a kettle of salty water going over high heat; this is for the noodles. Once it boils, add the noodles and cook according to the directions; they will hold in a colander until the stroganoff is ready.
- Slice the venison into 1/4 inch pieces and salt lightly.
- Get 2 tablespoons butter in a large saute pan good and hot over medium-high heat.
- When the butter stops frothing, lay down some of the venison. Do not crowd the pan. Sear for 1 minute, making sure they are getting browned in that time. If not, you are either crowding the pan too much or the heat isn’t high enough. Turn and cook for another minute, then transfer to a bowl. Lay down another set of venison pieces, and repeat until they’re all cooked.
- Once the venison is cooked, add the shallots and another tablespoon of butter and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the mushrooms and garlic and the remaining butter, then toss and cook over high heat for 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle some salt over them.
- Add the Madeira and toss to combine. Let this boil down furiously. While it is doing so, grate some nutmeg over the mixture. Add the cayenne.
- When the Madeira is mostly gone, turn the heat down to low and return the venison to the pan, including all the juices in the bowl. Stir to combine and add most of the chopped fresh dill.
- Add the sour cream and turn off the heat. Stir to combine and let it heat through from the heat in the pan. Add the remaining nutmeg. Do not let this boil, or even simmer, or Very Bad Things will happen. Think nasty curdled crap.
- To serve, spread out over the noodles and top with any remaining dill and the dill pollen, if using.