If sauces have you flummoxed, trust me, this one is easy to make. No boiling down bones, no demi-glace, and no shopping for a gazillion ingredients. It takes no more than 15 minutes to put together and uses only a few items. One of them is pomegranate juice. I received a case of it from the nice folks at POM and have been enjoying it in a drink at breakfast each morning. But it also works great in sauces such as this one.
I prepared this dish last weekend but it almost didn’t happen. We had some violent weather here in Central New Jersey with hurricane force winds and torrential rains. We were fortunate that we never lost power, as much of Princeton did, but the sounds of branches snapping against the house and a sump-pump working overtime did little to assuage our anxiety. We lost a couple of large trees, including a nearly 40 foot pine that snapped in half and thankfully landed in the street, not against our house. Other folks in town were not so fortunate, including the owners of this home:
The next day we walked through town to get a sense of the damage, stopping by to extend a dinner invitation to friends who had lost power. We were already planning to make the venison (a gift from my brother Frank, who’s a hunter). Our friends offered to bring along a uncooked duck breast that had been slowly thawing in their freezer. The pomegranate-orange sauce was the perfect complement to both of them, and it would work equally well on pork.
I marinated the venison tenderloin for at least four hours ahead of cooking, in a mixture of red wine, rosemary, juniper berries, black pepper and garlic. Just before cooking, remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Place a few tablespoons of olive oil in a black cast iron skillet (or other oven-proof pan), season the meat with salt and pepper and brown it on all sides. This will take only about five minutes or so. Then place the entire skillet with the meat, into a 375 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on your preference. The venison in the photo cooked in the oven for about 10 minutes.
While the meat is cooking, prepare the sauce. After you remove the meat from the oven, let it rest a couple of minutes. It’s best if you pour the sauce on the bottom of the plate, or serve it in a sauceboat on the side, because once you pour it on top of the meat, the meat will lose its nice pink color.
Printable Recipe Here
1 cup POM pomegranate juice
1/2 cup orange juice
2 t. balsamic gelatina (This is an ingredient I bought in Italy at Acetaia San Giacomo – but you’re not likely to find it here, so use 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar instead)
1 T. butter
2 oranges, cut into segments
Put the juices into a saucepan over high heat and reduce a bit. It may take 10 minutes or so. Add the balsamic (gelatina or vinegar) and butter. It doesn’t have to be as thick as molasses, just somewhat concentrated. Add the orange segments just before serving and stir in, together with any juice that seeped out while you were sectioning the oranges and cook for another few seconds, until warmed through. Serve with the venison.