Venison Steak Diane

4.98 from 125 votes
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Venison steak Diane on the plate
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Steak Diane. What can I say? This dish was already passé when I first began going to restaurants as a boy in the 1970s; its heyday in America was in the 1950s and 1960s, when French cooking was all the rage. (Thanks, Julia!)

Most people who remember this dish remember it as beef filet mignon with a zippy sauce of mustard, Worcestershire sauce, demi-glace, cream and shallots — all flambéed at the table with cognac.

Ritzy, eh? Well, my version of steak Diane is a little less flamboyant, and it hearkens back to the dish’s roots. Diane, you see, is really Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt. And Sauce Diane, at least in its proto-form, was first mentioned by Escoffier in his Le Guide Culinaire back in 1907. And it was a sauce not for beef, but for venison.

It is a classic for a reason. This sauce is so good you must have lots of bread around to sop it up. If you don’t, you will find yourself licking the plate, and that’s not very polite.

I developed this recipe more than a decade ago, and I am more than happy with my version, which is a little stronger flavored than a typical steak Diane; it seems appropriate considering that venison is more strongly flavored than beef.

Over the years it has become one of my most popular recipes. Not a week goes by that I don’t get a note from someone who made this and loved it. I am very happy to have played a small part in reviving this classic.

Serve steak Diane with a big red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Petit Verdot or Graciano.

This is absolutely a date-night dish, but it is also so easy to make you can whip it up on a Wednesday night. So I suppose if you have a Wednesday night date it would be perfect…

Venison steak Diane
4.98 from 125 votes

Venison Steak Diane

Steak Diane really needs a tender cut, and with venison that means tenderloin or backstrap. The best way to cook this is with a large piece of backstrap that you then cut into medallions right before you serve. If you have regular medallions, it will still work. While it is important to use heavy cream for this recipe (lighter creams will separate), it is not that important to have fancy brandy for this recipe -- just use something you would drink, OK?
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Servings: 2 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 pound piece of venison backstrap or tenderloin
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup venison stock or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mustard (I use Dijon)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Minced herbs for garnish (basil parsley, chives, etc)

Instructions 

  • Bring the venison loin out of the fridge, salt it well and let it come to room temperature, at least 20 minutes.
  • Heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat for about 90 seconds. Pat the venison dry with a paper towel and cook it on all sides. Turn the heat to medium so the butter doesn't scorch, and take your time. It should take about 8 to 10 minutes or so to get a nice brown crust on the venison without overcooking the center. Remove the venison, tent loosely with foil and set aside.
  • Add the shallots to the saute pan and cook for 1 minute, then add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Don't let the garlic burn. Deglaze the pan with the brandy, scraping off any stuck-on bits in the pan with a wooden spoon. Let the brandy cook down almost to a glaze, then add the venison stock, tomato paste, mustard and Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Let this boil down until a wooden spoon dragged across the pan leaves a trail behind it that does not fill in for a second or two. This should take about 3 minutes on high heat.
  • Turn off the heat and let the boiling subside. Stir in cream until the sauce is as light as you like. Don't let the sauce boil again or it could break.
  • Slice the venison into thick medallions. If you find you have not cooked it enough, let the meat swim in the sauce for a few moments to heat through. If the venison is to your liking, pour some sauce on a plate and top with the meat. Garnish with some chopped herbs. Chives are traditional, but basil and parsley are also nice. 

Video

Notes

Looking for another classic to make with venison tenderloin? Try Venison with Cumberland Sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 487kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 505mg | Potassium: 871mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 909IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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190 Comments

  1. I made this for dinner tonight with a venison tenderloin that my neighbor gave me. My kids LOVED it …. and, FYI, I didn’t have any good crusty bread so my daughter actually licked the plate!!! Made me laugh. Thanks so much …. this will definitely become a regular.

  2. Hank, where’s the flame . I worked at a vintage steakhouse out of Estes Park Co. and the dish was served after the introduction of a liquor high enough in alcohol content to produce a searing flame, searing the meat and adding a visual delight. This was approximately in 1972.
    Thanks, Doug

  3. Great recipe! Used a backstrap. Just made for Christmas Eve dinner with wild mushroom risotto.

    Easy and delicious!

    Thanks Hank

  4. My son found this recipe and it’s now a family favorite. Too bad a deer isnt 100% tenderloin and backstrap.

    The only real issue is the recipe doesn’t make enough sauce. We double it or more. Also we’ll usually cook the meat on the grill as filets then finish in the sauce. And if you’ve eaten all your venison it’s great with beef tenderloin as well.

    It’s perfect as is but also lends itself to simple mods. I like it with a few chopped fresh seeded jalapeños.

  5. Used a sous vide to bring it to 130. I had a 3# back strap cut into 2 pieces (and well trimmed of silver skin) and put it in the water bath for 2.5 hours. Dried it with paper towels, pan fried it in butter and did everything else according to the recipe. (I set the recipe to 6 people.) Absolutely perfect.

  6. This sauce is so good it could make the queen lick the plate. It is somehow both impressive and relatively easy, so it has become our go-to for dinner parties. Just add some mashed potatoes, crusty bread and some roast veg and dinner is done!

  7. instructions were on point and easy to follow. I love this recipe so much. I usually augment recipes, but this is one of the rare ones that needs ZERO changes or additions.

  8. “You’ve outdone yourself again!” Was my wife saying this to me, her adoring husband, or to the recipe creator, Hank? “This is my favorite recipe!” from my Father in Law, a certified state BBQ judge. It was a delicious meal provided by last year’s deer tenderloin. Knowing a bottle of brandy would not be drunk, I used a Cabernet Sauvignon which we drank alongside this delicious meal. I served it with smashed potatoes, which was also covered in the yummy pan sauce. The sauce reminded me of a refined BBQ or catsup. I doubled the sauce and will be use the remaining over some potatoes later this week. Highly recommend!

  9. DELICIOUS!! We used venison cutlets instead back strap or tenderloin. Shortened the venison cooking time by half, and it came out perfect!