A Very Venison Holiday Party

Sarah Mickey All Recipes, General Leave a Comment

These elegant and flavorful appetizers are easier to make than they look, and venison is an elegant alternative to beef that’s perfect for your favorite guests. No gaminess here – which will delight any guests who haven’t tried mild and lovely farmed venison before.

Making three varieties of crostini isn’t much different than making one – you can cook the venison tenderloins for all three at once, and any sauces and garnishes can be whipped up a day ahead.  

The Menu

Three crostinis:

#1  Venison with Hazelnut Crème Fraiche & Lingonberry
For a dozen guests, you’ll need to double this recipe.*

#2  Venison with Horseradish Sauce
This recipe will make enough sauce and garnishes for 12 guests, but add 1/2 tenderloin more*

#3  Venison with Cauliflower and Black Trumpet Mushroom Gremolata
This recipe will make enough spread & gremolata for 12 guests, but add 1/2 tenderloin more*

* We’ve made these adjustments already in the shopping list below

Prepare the day before:

  • Rehydrate the black trumpet mushrooms for crostini #3 first. 
  • Blend up the spice rub and coat the two tenderloins you’ll use for crostini #1.    
  • Make the hazelnut crème fraiche for #1.
  • Whip up the horseradish sauce for #2 (it’s even better the second day).
  • Make the cauliflower puree and the gremolata for #3.
  • You can slice all the crostini bread early and keep it in a sealed Ziploc bag, ready to toast.   

Before the party starts:

  • Set the oven to 350°F, get a nice sear on all five of the venison tenderloins, finish them briefly in the oven to medium rare (or an internal temperature of 130°F), and let them rest.
  • Raise the oven temp to 425°F and toast all the crostini bread. 
  • Chop your chive garnish for crostini #2.
  • Shortly before guests are due to arrive, pull out the components of each appetizer and arrange them within reach of your cutting board and assembly area. You’re ready to rock.

Party time:

  • Slicing the tenderloin thinly and assembling the appetizers in batches can be done quickly, and won’t keep you in the kitchen all night!   

Shopping List

5 Venison Tenderloins

2 Lemons
1 bunch fresh Chives
1 punch flat leaf Parsley
1 head Cauliflower
2 inches fresh Horseradish (or good quality prepared)

14 oz Creme Fraiche
1 cup heavy Cream
1 stick unsalted Butter

D’Arbo Lingonberry Jam
1 ounce dried Black Trumpet Mushrooms
2 Tbsp minced Preserved Lemon
1 cup Hazelnuts
4 tsp Juniper Berries
4 tsp whole Allspice
2 tsp Pink Peppercorns
2 tsp Black Peppercorns
1 Tbsp whole grain Mustard
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
Salt & Pepper
A high heat neutral Oil (safflower, canola, etc.)
Olive Oil

1 Seedy or Pumpernickel loaf
2 loaves good Rye Bread

Wine Pairings:

  • Old world reds like Cotes du Rhone and Bordeaux are wonderful with game meats. With milder venison and bold garnishes, Syrah, Grenache, or a California Cabernet would also be lovely.
  • The horseradish throws in a curveball, making a full-bodied Sauvignon Blanc or a richly oaked Chardonnay intriguing options for those who prefer white wines.

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