Backstraps shouldn’t be the only cut of meat that you save for special occasions. Oftentimes I treat the eye of round cut like a steak and serve it with a rich red wine sauce that is guaranteed to impress everyone at the table.
The eye of round is a long, cylindrical muscle found in each hind leg and is commonly referred to as the hidden tenderloin. This is because it is similar in shape and it is also a really great cut of meat. I find that the eye of round is more dense in texture than the loin or tenderloin but surprisingly tender.
To make the most out of this cut, I choose to cook it using a sous vide device. This method ensures juicy, perfectly cooked meat every time. If you’re throwing a dinner party you don’t have to stress about timing. With sous vide, you can cook the meat in advance and do the final step just before serving.
To make this recipe even better, just before searing I roll it in a savory garlic and herb mixture. This adds a nice texture and flavor to the meat and pairs well with pretty much anything. Browned mushrooms and potatoes are nice companions.
One eye of round from a large deer might be enough to serve two people if you have plenty of sides. A small deer or antelope might only serve one, while an elk will obviously serve several people. If you go with elk, you’ll want to double the herb crust recipe.
I find that wild game cooks at a slightly lower temp than domestic meat. This is why a beef recipe suggests 130 degrees for medium rare, whereas I go a few degrees lower for venison.
- 2 whole eye of round cuts from antelope, deer, elk, etc.
- Kosher salt & pepper
- 1-2 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
- Oil for searing
- 1/4 cup almond meal or breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp. dried minced garlic
- 1/2 cup parsley, minced
- 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves, minced
- 1 egg white, beaten
Red Wine Reduction
- 4 cups venison/beef stock
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 roughly chopped shallot
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
Also works with
- Season each piece of meat with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. If possible, do this step hours or even a day in advance. Place meat inside a sealed bag with the rosemary sprigs and two of the smashed cloves of garlic. Seal out as much air as possible and prepare your equipment for cooking.
- Use the guidelines below and set the temperature on your sous vide device according to the desired doneness of meat. Measure the thickness of the meat to determine how long it will need to cook. Once the water is heated, drop in the meat and set a timer. For rare, cook to 125-126 degrees. For medium-rare, cook to 127-128 degrees. For medium, cook to 129-132 degrees. For 1″ thick, cook 60 minutes. For 1 1/2″ thick, cook 90 minutes. For 2″ thick, cook 120 minutes.
- Mix the herb crust in a small bowl and beat the egg white until ready to use.
- When the timer goes off, take the bag out of the water bath. Remove meat from the bag and place on a cutting board. Pat dry with paper towels and let it rest for at least 10-20 minutes until you’re ready to cook. This will allow the temperature of meat to fall. This helps prevent overcooking when searing. Gently brush the egg white across the meat. Roll the meat across the crust until it sticks.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a cast iron skillet or sauté pan over high heat. Lay the meat down and brown on all sides. Use tongs and be gentle so you don’t lose too much of the crust.
- Slice into medallions and serve with the red wine reduction.
Red Wine Reduction
- While the meat is cooking, start the red wine reduction. In a small saucepan over medium heat, gently sauté the chopped shallot and smashed garlic with a little oil or butter for a few minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a brisk simmer until reduced in half, which is approximately 30-45 minutes. Remove the stock and set aside.
- Add red wine to the saucepan and gently simmer until it is reduced in half, which is about 20 minutes. Return the stock back to the pot and continue to reduce until it coats the back of a spoon. Before serving, strain out the smashed garlic and chopped shallot.