Bleu Cheese and Portobello Stuffed Venison Tenderloin
Stuffed venison tenderloin is so delicious just fried or grilled with a little salt and pepper and maybe a little spice added that I seldom seek new recipes for the venison tenderloin. I stumbled upon this recipe one late night while surfing the net and had to try it. I new my family wouldn’t eat it because of both the blue cheese and the mushrooms, two things I love. Needless to say I had to wait until it was just me to enjoy this wonderful recipe. I was sure it would be something I liked but I never realized that it would become my favorite tenderloin recipe of all. It does take a little effort but that effort is well worth it when you plate this great main course at your next wild game dinner.
- 2-pound section of venison loin
- 1 pound of bacon
- 8 oz. chopped portobello mushrooms
- 4 oz. crumbled blue cheese
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- Jalapeños (optional)
This recipe will work with any tenderloin, but I’ve only tried it with venison and I can say it is great. I am, like many hunters, very selective on how I use my precious venison tenderloin and consider it a cultural delicacy. Delicacy: A food item that is considered highly desirable in various cultures. The culture I’m referring to is the hunting culture and while it seems many belong to the hunting culture among our circle of acquaintances the fact is those numbers are dwindling and actually very few can say they belong. My desire, like most outdoor communicators I know, hope to increase the number of people who enjoy our hunting culture and understand why it’s OK.
I feel that it’s recipes like this that can help make those that wonder why we eat wild game into how do I get some wild game. I have friends that would never kill an animal for no reason but they have no problem accepting wild game from me either cooked or raw. These folks may not be a part of the hunt but they are a part of the hunting culture and go a long way in helping our cause and ultimately our culture. This recipe is actually that good and I hope you introduce the skeptics to something they can’t deny. Wild game is delicious. So enough of my soap box ramblings and on with the stuffed venison tenderloin.
PREPARE THE MEAT
Once you remove what little fat and sinew there is on the tenderloin use your knife to cut half way through lengthwise, this is known as butterflying. You can leave your tenderloin thick or pound it thin with a meat hammer. Don’t use the spike side just use the smooth side because venison tenderloin is a delicate piece of meat and the spikes can destroy it. I have prepared this recipe both ways and either works fine. I will say you can get a little more stuffing inside if you pound your tenderloin thin. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and I will even sprinkle my favorite rub inside the loin and then again all over before wrapping the bacon.
Melt your butter in a skillet to prepare for the mushrooms. Chop your portobello mushrooms finely and sauté in the skillet until hot. Don’t over cook the mushrooms they will cook some more on the grill. Set your mushrooms to the side to cool. Let the mushrooms cool so they don’t melt the blue cheese crumbles when you mix them together. Once the mushrooms are cool mix them with the blue cheese in a bowl. Add the jalapeño if desired. Place the portobello blue cheese mixture evenly inside your butterflied tenderloin. Gently and carefully roll the tenderloin over the mixture and pin it in a few places to keep it rolled while you prepare the bacon.
You can elect to just wrap your stuffed loin with strips of bacon or you can get fancy. In my view venison backstrap deserves fancy. Fancy doesn’t always mean difficult and to weave a bacon blanket for your loin will not only add more flavor but it will also show off your culinary skills. This is something all of us wannabe chefs want to do especially when it’s so simple. The bacon wrap is just individual bacon strips weaved in and out of each other. Thick cut bacon makes it easier to accomplish this task. Also put the bacon in the freezer for a few minutes to get it good and cold. This will keep the bacon from getting too warm while creating the weave. This can cause the bacon to become slick with fat and make it harder to weave the slices.
Once the weave is complete remove the few toothpicks and lay your stuffed loin on the blanket of bacon. Starting at the edge of the blanket, roll the loin up as tight as possible. Use toothpicks to secure the wrap in place. You can use cordage if you want but toothpicks work fine. Remember to remove them when your loin is done.
COOKING THE LOIN
You can cook your stuffed venison loin in the oven but I prefer a grill. A grill allows you to cook with indirect heat. By setting the loin on one side of the grill and using the opposite burners you can slowly heat up the loin and get it evenly cooked throughout. I know what you’re thinking hot and fast for venison, but in this case with the stuffing and the bacon protecting it all it’s best to slowly bring everything up to temp allowing time for the internal temperature to reach a safe level.
Cook the loin indirectly for 30 minutes then move it over direct heat and watch closely. The bacon grease will cause flare ups. This is fine as long as it isn’t burning your bacon just keep it moving to avoid too much flame. The flare ups really help crisp the bacon, but if you don’t watch out it can burn it as well. Keep rotating and moving the loin to crisp the bacon evenly. The indirect heat in the beginning is important. If you just cook the bacon til crispy the venison will fail to cook through.
It doesn’t take much to cook it because it’s butterflied. However, with the bacon and the stuffing inside it doesn’t heat up as fast as you might think. Keep your meat thermometer at the ready and move the stuffed backstrap to direct heat before the internal temperature reaches medium rare 135 degrees. I move it over when the internal temp reaches 100 degrees then the crisping of the bacon will bring the venison up to temp without over cooking.
Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and don’t forget to remove the toothpicks.