Medallions of Venison with Port and Cranberries

Chef Kenny, of the Crookedwood House, in Mullingar, Ireland, prepares this entrée in the winter with fresh cranberries. However, you can use canned cranberry sauce, which is available year-round. Chef Kenny likes sautéed currants as a garnish, and braised cabbage and baked potatoes as side dishes (as shown in my photo, I served this dish with Braised Savoy Cabbage with Bacon and Rosemary Roasted Red Potatoes on the side).

If you’ve never cooked venison medallions before, here are some tips from Field & Stream :

A venison medallion is a 1⁄2- to 3⁄4-inch slice of backstrap cut before or after cooking. Panfrying one perfectly every time takes practice. Here’s how to get that delicious crust and medium-rare center:

1. It’s hard to cook an ice-cold medallion properly. Salt your meat and let it come to room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Pat the meat dry before heating it—wet meat doesn’t sear.
2. Cook whole backstrap of smaller deer. This makes it easier to get it to medium-rare. Small ones pre-cut into medallions will overcook.
3. The thicker the medallion, the lower the heat. Never cook whole loin pieces on high heat for more than a few minutes. I cook pre-sliced medallions on medium heat to get the crust-and-medium-rare combination.
4. Don’t mess with it. Let the loin cook in one spot for a while before turning, and turn only once.
5. Let it rest inside a foil tent for 10 to 15 minutes. This helps the venison stay juicy.

This recipe makes 4 servings.


  • 1 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
  • 1 cup beef stock or canned beef broth
  • 1/2 cup ruby Port
  • 1/3 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 3- to 3 1/2-ounce venison medallions (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick)


Combine chicken and beef stocks in heavy small saucepan. Boil until liquid is reduced to 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Add Port and boil until liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Whisk in cranberry sauce and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 4 minutes. Whisk in 1 tablespoon butter. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Sprinkle venison with salt and pepper. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in large non-stick skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add venison to skillet and cook to desired doneness, about 2 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Divide sauce among 4 plates. Place 2 venison medallions atop sauce on each plate.