Venison Bacon Bushmills

The ‘peaty’ notes in Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey is just the the right note to compliment this classic venison dish – medallions of venison wrapped in bacon. Don’t we all need a little bit of bacon in our day?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/12 pounds venison loin
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 cup Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey plus a little extra for drizzling
  • 12 rashers of bacon
  • 1 cup beef stock

Run the spices through a spice mill until its mixed. It doesn’t need to be ‘powdered’ but finely ground. Slice the loin in 12 evenly thick medallions. Place the medallions in a dish and wrap each with a slice of bacon securing it with a toothpick. Sprinkle the spice mix over the medallions and drizzle them with about 2 tablespoons of whiskey.

Saute the medallions in a pans over high heat for about five minutes or so for a rare steak, a little longer for medium. Add the remaining whiskey and carefully flame it. As I have a gas stove I use the ‘pan-tilt’ way of flaming the whiskey.

Remove the medallions to a platter and keep them warm while making the sauce. Add the beef stock to the pan and deglaze. At this point you can add some cream and mushrooms to make o creamy sauce, or add onions and mushrooms before deglazing to make a lighter sauce.

You can serve the medallions with the sauce on top or on the side, but either way… serve the whiskey too.

Your Own Loaf of Meat

So, continuing this ‘comfort food’ series, today I will reveal the secret to a really good meatloaf… venison! Yup, from right here on Long Island. Fresh deer meat mixed with ground beef to make a lean loaf that’s good for your health.

Here’s what you will need:

  • 1 lb ground venison
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 3 rashers of bacon diced
  • 1 medium onion coarsely grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 cups of fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 3 juniper berries crushed
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the bacon bits, then drain on a paper towel and toss into a large mixing bowl.

Add the venison, beef, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, thyme, juniper, vinegar, egg and mix this all together with your hands. Yup, have to do it with your own two un-gloved hands. Make that connection with your creation.

Now, just because I use thyme and juniper, doesn’t mean that you have to. The thing that makes meatloaf a real comfort food is that it is made from whatever makes YOU feel good. If you want to use oregano, mushrooms, and A1 sauce, go right ahead. Meatloaf is as personalized as fingerprints (another good reason for making your fingers a part of the process).

Spoon the mixture on to a foil covered baking sheet and shape it into a loaf shape. Bake in the oven about an hour and fifteen, then take it out and left it rest about five minutes before cutting and serving and challenging your guests to guess what ingredients YOU used… trust me, this last part makes for interesting conversation if you are an unconventional cook.