Coated and seared with Hardcore Carnivore Black rub, this venison back strap with ricotta dumplings is a simple but delicious wintertime meal.
Most people consider a rib eye or similarly luxurious beef steak to be the ultimate protein selection. They’re not wrong, but venison back strap (also known as loin) is up there as one of my favorite protein cuts to cook and eat. Whether stuffed with mushroom and sage (like this recipe), or roasted whole to be served as perfect medallions, it’s a real treat.
One of my tricks when it comes to cooking venison is using my Hardcore Carnivore Black rub. It contains activated charcoal, so it coats the exterior of the meat with a black hue. This is crucial for meats that are best served rare, because it gives the outer color a head start and you’re less tempted to overcook it. It’s definitely the secret to creating a striking contrast of black crust and beautifully pink meat.
I gotta tell ya – these ricotta dumplings are outrageously easy. Few ingredients, easy to make and hard to mess up. Sounds like a good deal to me. How to make a good deal a great deal? Browned butter. The browning comes from the toasting of the milk solids which impart a nutty flavor to the already rich butter. You can bet you’ll be sweeping your venison pieces through any remaining butter on the plate. Possibly even bringing the saucepan to the table to make sure no butter is left behind. I’m not saying I’ve done that… but I’ve done that.
Start by making the dumplings. In a food processor, combine the ricotta, parmesan and egg and blend until well combined.
Add the flour and 1 tsp salt, then pulse 6-8 times until flour is just combined.
Bring a pan of salted water to a high simmer. Use a tablespoon to scoop the dumpling mix, then using a clean finger, push the mix off the spoon, dropping into the boiling water to form the dumpling. They will sink at first then rise to the surface. Cook for 4-6 minutes. You may also need to work in 2-3 batches to avoid overcrowding, depending on the size of your pan.
When the dumplings are ready, use a slotted spoon to gently lift them out and onto to parchment paper to avoid sticking.
Pre-heat an oven to 350f.
Place a cast iron pan over high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of oil.
Pat the venison backstrap dry with a paper towel. Cover with remaining tablespoon of oil, then apply Hardcore Carnivore Black rub liberally, ensuring all sides and ends are well coated. Once the pan is smoking hot, place the backstrap into the pan and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side, including each end.
Place the pan into the oven and continue to cook for 15 minutes until the internal temperature of the venison measures 130f on an instant read thermometer.
Remove from oven, place venison onto a board and cover with foil to rest 10-15 minutes.
While the venison is resting, finish the dumplings. In a large frying pan, heat the butter and ½ teaspoon of salt over medium heat. Continue cooking, shaking the butter around in the pan until the butter browns and becomes fragrant, 5-7 minutes.
Drop in the sage leaves, and cook another 30 seconds. The oil will be hot enough to crisp them up. Add the cooked dumplings to coat in butter and warm through.
Slice the venison backstrap into medallions and serve 3-4 slices with portion of the brown butter dumplings. Serve immediately.