There are few things in life as satisfying as eating a meal that was collected by use of your own labor and cunning. The simplicity of this dish is its beauty. There are two main ingredients to this dish: backstrap & oyster mushrooms.
Backstrap is a gift from God that is as tasty as it is fun to collect. It’s difficult to explain the feeling I get when I’m headed out of the woods, and I spot a flush of delightfully fragrant wild oyster mushrooms. I swear I can hear a little sigh of relief from them when I start picking, like they are saying “Whew, he saw us. Now make a meal out of us!” I was fortunate enough to collect both backstrap & oyster mushrooms on a hunt this year, and have been enjoying the spoils ever since.
- Venison Backstrap cut into roughly 1/2″ to 5/8″ thick medallions. Make sure to remove any and all silver skin, or gristle. Let it get to room temperature, and pat it dry before seasoning.
- Oyster mushrooms, roughly 2 cups cut into pieces of the desired size. I like to have more mushroom than meat, but this is up to the guy shoving his face full. You can use whatever kind of mushroom floats your boat.
- Butter, (Ghee, Duck Fat, or Bacon Grease are also great).
- Garlic, about 1 clove minced (optional).
- Salt & Pepper to taste (or your favorite seasoning mix, but I’m a salt/pepper traditionalist).
That’s it. No more, no less.
- Melt some some butter in a black iron skillet, and add your minced garlic once melted. Cook the garlic until fragrant.
- Chop up your mushrooms to the desired size. I like mine about half to a quarter of the size of my backstrap medallions.
- Next saute the mushrooms in the butter. Add more butter if needed. You will do this over high to medium/high heat. You want to have the heat up pretty high because the mushrooms will not brown without having the heat high enough to force the steam out of the mushrooms first. If you are getting steam, then you’re doing it right. Don’t burn them, but don’t let them cook on too low of a heat either.
- Brown the mushrooms.
- Move the mushrooms to one side of the skillet.
- Male sure to let the venison get to room temperature, and pat them dry before adding to the skillet. If it isn’t dry, it won’t get the crust you’re looking for.
- Season the backstrap medallions with salt & pepper, and add them to the skillet making sure not to crowd the skillet. If you crowd the skillet your items will not brown properly.
- Cook on high to medium high heat, stirring the mushrooms occasionally to insure that they are continuing to brown evenly.
- Do not over cook the medallions or they will become tough. You can always remove the medallions, and continue sauteing the oyster mushrooms if needed. Cook the backstrap on medium/high heat just long enough to get a good brown char like crust on both sides of the medallions.
- Move medallions to a plate, and allow to rest in a warm place for roughly 5 minutes.
- After allowing to rest, add the sauteed mushrooms, and enjoy with a good red wine, or a cold IPA!