Redwood Forest Syrah-Roasted Venison with Juniper Berry Jus

Redwood Forest Syrah-Roasted Venison with Juniper Berry Jus
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About This Recipe

Deep within the heart of Napa, among the majestic Redwoods and rolling vineyards, culinary inspiration seems to grow on trees, sometimes quite literally! My recent culinary creation, the Redwood Forest Syrah-Roasted Venison with Juniper Berry Jus, is the very essence of Napa in a plate. Born from an enchanting evening amidst the Redwoods, this dish embodies the beautiful marriage of Napa’s wild nature and its wine vineyard culture.

Venison, a meat both delicate and wild, pairs divinely with Syrah, especially the bold kind that grows here in wine country. The idea was to encapsulate the deep, rustic flavors of the forests and the velvety charm of the vineyards. As any Napa home chef would recommend, sourcing your venison locally ensures freshness and supports our community. You might want to check out local farms or even farmer's markets, which are treasure troves for farm to table recipe ingredients.

Now, onto the side dishes. For this particular chef meal at home, I'd suggest a side of roasted root vegetables – think carrots, parsnips, and beets. Their earthiness beautifully complements the venison. Another wonderful option is a wild rice pilaf, which echoes the wild spirit of this dish. As for dessert, something light, perhaps a citrus tart using oranges from the nearby groves of Sacramento, would be splendid, creating a delightful balance after the rich main course.

Speaking of balancing flavors, let's discuss wine pairings, a subject close to my heart and, quite frankly, the pride of Napa. While the obvious choice is a glass of Syrah from the same bottle you used for the dish, for those wanting to venture a bit, a bottle of Cabernet Franc from Kukeri Wines, a lesser-known but outstanding vineyard tucked away in St. Helena, is a treat. Their wines have a hint of lavender and bright red fruit notes, adding an unexpected freshness to the palate. Another exquisite pairing would be a Zinfandel from Green & Red Vineyard, a hidden gem located in the Chiles Valley region of Napa. Its spicy undertones and robust character make it a fitting companion for the venison.

With summer setting into Napa, this dish stands as a refreshing yet hearty summer dinner idea. It brings together the best of Napa: the freshness of farm produce, the boldness of our wines, and the wild spirit of the Redwoods. As you try recreating this chef recipe at home, remember to let the ingredients shine. Our region offers a bounty, and this dish is a testament to that.

While many associate Napa with its bustling wineries and tourist spots, as a valley chef, I urge you to delve deeper. Beyond the renowned vineyards, we have little nooks and crannies, restaurants with wine menus that narrate tales of the land, and hidden trails that lead to breathtaking views. And if you ever find yourself wondering which winery to visit next, give Matthiasson a try. It's not your typical Napa winery, with its focus on sustainable farming and lesser-known grape varieties. It's places like these that truly capture the essence of Napa.

As you embark on this culinary journey with Redwood Forest Syrah-Roasted Venison, remember, it's not just about cooking; it's about relishing Napa’s legacy, one that spans dense forests, sprawling vineyards, and authentic recipes passed down through generations. Whether you're here for quick dinner solutions or to dive deep into the lore of our wine country, Napa promises a gastronomic adventure like no other. Happy cooking! 🍷🦌🌲

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Juniper Berries

Juniper berries, often renowned for their pivotal role in gin production, have a more ancestral history as a culinary spice. These small, blue-black berries emanate from the juniper shrub, native to various regions worldwide, including North America and Europe. In culinary applications, juniper berries impart a slightly sweet, woodsy, and pine-like flavor, which makes them an impeccable pairing with game meats like venison. Rich in antioxidants and boasting potential medicinal properties, juniper berries aren't just flavor enhancers; they're a bridge to ancient culinary traditions and holistic health.

How To Properly Sear Venison

Perfectly seared venison promises a crusty exterior while preserving its tender and juicy interior. Here's how to ace this technique:

  1. Prepare the Venison: Before searing, remove the venison from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes. This ensures even cooking.
  2. Pat Dry: Moisture is the enemy of a good sear. Use paper towels to pat the venison dry, removing any excess moisture.
  3. Preheat the Skillet: Use a heavy oven-proof skillet and heat it over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil.
  4. Searing: Lay the venison in the skillet, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan. Sear each side for 3-4 minutes, or until a rich brown crust forms.
  5. Rest: Once seared, let the venison rest to redistribute its juices before slicing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I substitute Syrah with another wine? Absolutely. While Syrah brings a unique profile, other full-bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot can work as alternatives.
  2. Is there a difference between venison stock and beef stock? Venison stock tends to have a deeper, wilder flavor than beef stock. However, beef stock is a suitable substitute if venison stock isn't available.
  3. How do I store leftover venison? Store any leftover venison in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For best flavor, consume within 3 days.
  4. I have a nut allergy. Is this dish safe for me? This recipe doesn't include nuts. However, always ensure that your ingredients haven't been processed in facilities with nuts to avoid cross-contamination.
  5. Can I use dried rosemary instead of fresh? Fresh rosemary is preferable for its robust flavor. If using dried, reduce the quantity by a third, as dried herbs are more concentrated.

Tips for Success

  1. Marinate Longer for Depth: If time permits, marinate the venison overnight. This allows the Syrah and spices to penetrate deeply, offering a richer flavor.
  2. Juniper Berry Caution: Juniper berries are robust in flavor. Ensure not to overuse them, as they can overpower the dish.
  3. Serving Temperature: Serve the venison immediately after drizzling with the jus. Venison is best enjoyed warm, allowing the Syrah and juniper-infused jus to shine.

As you embark on this delectable journey with the Redwood Forest Syrah-Roasted Venison, these added insights and tips aim to enhance your culinary experience. Here's to a dish that's not just a feast for the palate, but also a nod to Napa's rich gastronomic tapestry!

Recipe Overview

Redwood Forest Syrah-Roasted Venison with Juniper Berry Jus
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 2 lbs venison loin, trimmed
  • 1 cup Syrah (preferably from Napa Valley)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons juniper berries, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup beef or venison stock
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. In a bowl, mix the Syrah, garlic, rosemary, half of the crushed juniper berries, salt, and pepper. Marinate the venison loin in this mixture for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Remove the venison from the marinade, saving the liquid for later, and pat it dry with paper towels.
  3. In a heavy oven-proof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the venison on all sides until browned, approximately 3-4 minutes per side.
  4. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the venison for about 10 minutes for medium-rare, or until it reaches your desired level of doneness.
  5. Remove the venison from the skillet and let it rest on a cutting board.
  6. In the same skillet over medium heat, sauté the red onions until translucent. Add the remaining juniper berries and the reserved marinade, simmering until reduced by half.
  7. Add the beef or venison stock to the skillet and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens slightly. Finish with a tablespoon of butter for added richness, stirring until melted.
  8. Slice the venison and serve with the juniper berry jus drizzled over the top.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

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