By Tim H. Martin
Stacy Harris loves chocolate. So much so that a box of chocolate covered Alaskan berries helped solidify her choice for a future husband.
Stacy's then-boyfriend, Scott, bought a box of her favorite treats at the beginning of his caribou hunt on Alaska's Mulchatna River Basin. Over the course of the rigorous hunt, Stacy's box of chocolates remained untouched inside his tent even when supplies were running low.
After 12 days, Scott's bush plane couldn't pick him up because of bad weather, and he waited an additional two days for pickup. Scott lost 20 pounds on that trip, yet somehow his delicious gift still made it home to Alabama intact.
When Stacy found out, that's when she knew Scott was the man for her.
They've been married since 1993 and have seven children together. Obviously, Scott's willpower paid off!
Stacy's love of chocolate has carried over into this brilliant venison recipe. She came up with the idea on her own, and I promise it's good enough to be the envy of any 5-star chef in America.
Cocoa Crusted Venison Loin is perfect for Valentine's Day, anniversaries and special occasions - especially if you want to impress your sweetheart. And don't let the fancy appearance fool you; it's actually quite simple.
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Cocoa Crusted Venison Loins with Berry Reduction
By Stacy Harris
Chocolate is irresistible on most anything, but believe it or not, it's amazing with venison!
1/3 cup fresh ground coffee (un-brewed)
1/4 cup cocoa
2 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 venison tenderloins, (the small, inner loins)
Olive oil for browning
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, make a rub by mixing ground coffee, cocoa, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Rub mixture onto loins.
3. Heat oil in cast iron skillet almost to the smoking point. Place loins in skillet, searing on all sides to form a crust.
4. Place loins in 350 degree oven 4 to 5 minutes, depending on size of loins. Remove loins and place on a cutting board, allowing them to rest for at least 5 minutes.
5. Slice, place loins on a platter and spoon berry reduction on top of venison. Serve with collard greens. Serves 6.
1 1/2 cups blackberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup red wine (I prefer cabernet-sauvignon)
1/4 cup sugar
1 lemon, juiced
kosher salt, to taste
Place blackberries, blueberries, red wine, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, simmer and reduce by half, then season with salt.