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Venison Scallopini

Recipe by: Emily George

Fancy, but effortless. The hardest part is hauling the deer.

There are things in life that give me a sense of fulfillment, like being warmed by the sun’s morning rays as they beam through the smoke clouding my sight in the bare November forest after I pulled on the trigger on a strolling doe. Or reminiscing on that sensational moment with an easy meal prepared with the very meat from that harvest. Nothing compares to savoring something so pure and organic, from that morning in the woods to the sensation of my tastes buds and fulfillment of my belly. I’m truly thankful.

It might sound tedious and expensive, but venison scallopini is delightfully simple. You probably already have half of, if not all, the ingredients in your kitchen. A succulent dish that doesn’t require a lot of time or ingredients to pair with an aging bottle of cabernet — venison scallopini is ideal.

This is one of my favorite meals, especially when I can cook the steaks to perfection, which for me is medium-rare. Similar to a spaghetti dish, scallopini is considered Italian fare, consisting of thin, boneless meat sautéed or cooked in a sauce. Venison scallopini is just that — boneless deer tenderloin cut into steaks and cooked in a chunky tomato sauce. I toss the scallopini over spaghetti noodles or serve it with garlic bread to soak up the remnant oily sauce sometimes, but most of the time I enjoy it with the steak and sauce alone.

It takes less than an hour to prepare, and it is excellent to serve on a chilly winter night when it’s too cold to grill.


4 small deer steaks cut from deer tenderloin
olive oil (enough to barely cover the bottom of the pan)
1 candiced tomatoes
6 clovesfresh chopped garlic (2 tablespoons minced garlic works fine also)
fresh chopped basil
1 tablespoonoregano or Italian seasoning, depending on your preference
salt and pepper
shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese (amount to your preference, but enough to cover and melt over the steaks)

How to Prepare

  1. Cook the garlic in olive oil on medium heat until it browns and you can smell it well. Turn the heat to medium-high and sear the tenderloin steaks in the pan about 30 seconds to 1 minute each side. Set deer steaks aside.
  2. Turn the heat to low and empty tomatoes into the skillet with remaining oil and garlic. Add all seasonings, and stir until well-combined. Add the chopped basil if desired.
  3. Add the steaks and cook on low until desired temperature. Approximately 15–20 minutes for smaller, thinner steaks, and 35–45 minutes for thick steaks.
  4. Move contents from the skillet to an oven-safe dish. Place mozzarella cheese on top of the steaks until they are covered.
  5. Place dish in the oven and cook on broil until cheese is melted and bubbly or slightly browned. Serve over butter noodles with garlic bread if desired and top with fresh basil. Enjoy!