The Sporting Chef

Pan-Seared Tenderloin with Zinfandel Sauce

If I’m cooking for a crowd, I’ll use an inexpensive generic wine for a reduction and save my money for the wines that I drink. If I’m making this recipe at home, my go-to wine is the Michael-David Freakshow Zinfandel. It’s a bit more subtle than some of the bolder zinfandels from the Lodi, California region. The Michael-David Freakshow line is a clear winner. The current selections include a Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Zinfandel. Not only are the wines exceptional in taste and value, the labels are cool, too.

Pan-Seared Tenderloin with Zinfandel Sauce

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: big game recipes, venison recipes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 or 2 venison tenderloins, cut into serving-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups beef or venison stock
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup zinfandel
  • 4 tbsp chilled butter, cut into 6 to 8 pieces


  • Season venison with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add venison and cook until rare to medium-rare, about 4 to 5 minutes to brown both sides. Remove meat from pan, and keep warm.
  • Add stock, rosemary, garlic, and pepper to pan. Stir to remove bits. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced to about 3 tablespoons. Add wine, and reduce liquid to about ¼ cup. Return venison to pan to warm through to serving temperature. 
  • Arrange venison on plates. Remove pan from heat, and whisk in butter pieces, a few at a time, until incorporated into the sauce. Spoon sauce over venison. 

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