Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cooking Floyd: Dark Days Challenge: Feb. Week 12

Valentine's Day Dinner Continued

We got to eat Valentine's Day Dinner dessert first with last week's DDC Sweets theme challenge.  While this week is an unthemed challenge, it's main DDC meal fell on Valentine's Day for us.  We've had several meals featuring venison this winter but I've been saving the backstraps for special occasions and V-Day is special.

A backstrap is the long cylindrical muscle that lies on top of the ribcage and runs along each side of the spinal column of a deer.  It is often miscalled the tenderloin which is much smaller and lies in relatively the same place but beneath the spinal column within the deer's body cavity.  When the backstrap is cut into rounds it's the equivalent of a beef filet.

These tender boneless pieces of meat are absolutely gorgeous done up with no more than salt and pepper and then quickly seared or grilled over high heat to a medium-rare or at most a medium.  For this meal I'm gilding the lily with a nice blue cheese.  And that's my weak point too.  I tried to find a local blue cheese and I figured with the number of artisanal goat dairies in the area somebody would be producing a blue.  But no.  The only blue I found was from someone who buys goat milk and makes cheese for her own use.  I tried to sweet talk her out of some but to no avail.  I chalked it up to one more reason for our own dairy goats and used a standard but good creamy blue from the grocery.

Preheat your oven to 450F and have a heavy oven-proof skillet ready on the stove top.

In the picture above is half a backstrap and as you can see I divided it into four pieces.  Next I sliced each piece about halfway through to create a "V".  This will accommodate the blue cheese.

I cut two chunks of blue cheese just slightly shorter than the length of the filets.

These fit on an angle into the "V" of the filet.

Place the second filet on top.

And tie up tightly with cotton cord like a present, sealing the blue cheese inside.

Salt and pepper the bundles on all sides.

Heat the skillet over medium-high heat until extremely hot and then reduce the heat to just above medium. Just shine the skillet with an oil with a high smoke point like canola or, even better, peanut oil.  Have your hood fan running and be prepared for some smoke.  Alternatively, you can heat your outdoor grill to smokin' hot, oil the grate, and do the initial sear there.

Place the filet bundles gently in the pan or on the grill.  Allow them to sear and release on their own (about a minute or so) before turning them.  Sear on all sides.

When the filets are browned move them, pan and all, into the oven to finish cooking to almost your desired doneness.  If doing them on the grill, move them to the side away from any direct heat.  Next, place them on a warmed plate and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  The residual heat will continue to cook the interior while it's resting.  At the end of that time cut and remove the cords.  The two pieces of meat holding the now melted blue cheese should remain together.

To go with this meal I heated up a jar of our green beans

and roasted sliced carrots in clementine juice (oops! that's not local!), curry powder, and salt and pepper.

Supper was wonderful!


  1. What a nice Valentine's meal. Happy Valentine's Day.

  2. Bleu cheese stuffed back strap? That sounds utterly amazing. What a beautiful and flavorful Valentine's meal!

  3. We made this last night, but with a venison ham steak instead of a strap (which would have been better.) It was excellent - thanks for the recipe!