Venison with Elderberry Pan Sauce Recipe

Elderberries have a tart, earthy taste that make a fantastic syrup to use on venison. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

The elderberry pan sauce in this recipe tastes amazing with the venison

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes


  • 4 venison steaks
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of minced shallot
  • ¼ cup of dry red wine
  • ¼ cup of low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of elderberry syrup*
  • 1 tablespoon of butter

*Note: Use homemade elderberry syrup or your favorite dark fruit syrup/jelly/preserves. There are many elderberry syrup recipes online, but I recommend using Hank Shaw’s:

Venison with Elderberry Pan Sauce Recipe
Use elderberries, boysenberries, or blackberries to make a homemade syrup to top off the venison. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)


  1. Take venison steaks out of the refrigerator 1 hour prior to cooking. Remove all silver skin, pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper to taste. Coat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat, and when it begins to slightly smoke, place the steaks into the pan (pat steaks dry again if necessary) and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove steaks from the pan and keep warm tented in foil.
  2. Venison with Elderberry Pan Sauce Recipe
    Cook the steaks for 2-3 minutes on each side for medium rare or slightly longer for a more well done steak. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

  3. Lower heat to medium and add more oil if necessary to the same pan. Add the minced shallot and sauté for a few minutes until softened, but not browned. Next, deglaze the pan with red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Allow the wine to bubble for 2-4 minutes to slightly reduce, then add the beef broth, balsamic vinegar, and elderberry syrup.
  4. Venison with Elderberry Pan Sauce Recipe
    Simmer the sauce until it thickens enough for an opening to hold when running a spoon through the pan. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

  5. Simmer the sauce to thicken; it’s ready when you can quickly run a spoon across the sauce and the opening holds for a moment. Take the sauce off the heat and allow to cool for a couple minutes before whisking butter into the sauce. Serve the sauce poured over venison steaks.

About This Venison with Elderberry Pan Sauce Recipe

We get elderberries all over Nebraska, and so few people utilize them. These tiny, dark fruit are like the color of cabernet sauvignon, and they have a tart, earthy taste that’s great as a syrup. The syrup can then be added to anything you like, including cocktails, ice cream, and also sauces. This elderberry pan sauce tasted amazing with venison, and I also recommend you try it with wild duck and geese.

Elderberries ripen around August in Nebraska, but the season could be different for you depending on where you are in the country. Try not to pick elderberries near roads to avoid fruit that have been contaminated by automobile exhaust and dust. You can make your own elderberry syrup, but you won’t need much syrup for this venison recipe. If it’s more work than you’d like to put in, you can use any dark fruit syrup, jelly or preserves in its place. My favorites are boysenberry and blackberry.

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