Venison with Cranberry Sweet and Sour Sauce

Cooking with cranberries during the holiday season makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Cranberries are a decent source of vitamin C and potassium. They are supposedly good for blood circulation, digestive system, urinary tract and the complexion, although I wouldn’t recommend rubbing them over your face. I like them because they taste and look good. Pop a fresh cranberry in your mouth, go ahead, and try it! Not too good is it? They are a bit tart so it’s best to pair them with something sweet, in this case brown sugar, to balance the acidic tartness. You may want to save a few of the cooked ones for garnish before processing in the blender

Venison with Cranberry Sweet and Sour Sauce


  • 4 6-8 ounce venison steaks trimmed of all fat, gristle and bone
  • Sauce
  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lb fresh cranberries
  • 1 lemon juice only
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with equal part cold water
  • salt and white pepper


  • Prepare sauce. To large saucepan, add red wine and next 5 ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, uncovered. Lower to medium heat and reduce liquid by one-half. Remove rosemary and allow mixture to cool. When cooled, transfer contents to a blender or food processor and puree. If you wish, you can strain the liquid through a strainer to remove any large pieces. Do not attempt to process the HOT sauce in the blender or processor! It has to be cool. As soon as you turn on the machine, hot liquid cranberry sauce will spew out of the top and burn you and/or make a really big mess.
  • Return processed sauce to the saucepan and add brown sugar and half of the cornstarch mixture. Heat to boil. Add additional cornstarch mixture to thicken, if needed. Adjust sweet and sour flavors as desired by adding additional balsamic vinegar (sour) or brown sugar (sweet). Season with salt and pepper.
  • Season venison with salt and pepper. Grill, broil or pan sear until medium-rare. Spoon a little sauce on each plate. Slice venison across the grain and arrange slices over sauce. Garnish with additional cranberries, fresh herb, orange slice, etc.

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