Coffee, Juniper Berry, and Anise Crusted Venison Loin

Coffee,JuniperandStarAniseCrustedVenison©Rhonda Adkins-5

I was so happy when I got my assignment this month for Secret Recipe Club!  I was assigned Tandy from Lavender and Lime.  First off I’m a fan of citrus, and she obviously is too, it’s right there in her title.  Tandy is from South Africa, two years ago McGyver and I went on a Safari there and stayed to visit friends, you can read about that here and here. Naturally anything to do with South Africa brings back a flood of good memories.

Tandy has some serious cooking chops!  Her recipes have been published in several venues, even before she started her blog.  She’s also won a cooking competition.  Tandy makes her magic in a small kitchen with the best of ingredients.  And I love this quote that she has in her about page.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

When it came to choosing a recipe I went straight for her venison recipes.  Lucky me, I have a freezer full of venison and I am always looking for exciting new ways to prepare it.  As soon as my eyes landed on her recipe for Venison Roast with Coffee and Star Anise Rub it was love.  Tandy mentioned in her intro to the recipe that she wanted to use a loin but didn’t have any so she used a leg roast instead, well Tandy, I had a loin just waiting to be used.

This would be a good time to mention that what Tandy refer’s to as venison are ‘bokkies’, as in springboks (which is also a rugby football team), blesboks, bushboks, etc.  Bokkies are actually an antelope, here in the states when we use the term venison it’s in reference strictly to deer.  Having ate spring and blesbok before I knew that the flavor was not dissimilar and it would be no problem using deer instead of blesbok.  Of course there was zero chance that I would actually be able to get my hands on one.

Speaking of not being able to get my hands on something, I went to four stores and not one of them had juniper berries.  Thank goodness I had a trip to San Francisco scheduled and I was able to pick some up.  Also while I was there I bought some cabernet salt which I used in place of the regular salt. There will be more on that and the rest of my trip on Friday (are you happy Debra? She’s been asking me when I was going to share).

Coffee,JuniperandStarAniseCrustedVenison©Rhonda Adkins-1

Two other ingredient modifications that I made was using fresh rosemary versus dried and upping the coffee amount to suit our tastes.  Oh, I almost forgot, I only had 1 1/2 cups of wine left in my box, so I added a half cup of coffee to the marinade to make up for it.  I also altered the cooking method a bit, I seared the venison in a cast iron pan and then finished it off in the oven.  While the venison was resting I used the marinade to deglaze the pan and made the sauce from there.  My main motivation here was getting all those crusty bits up to flavor the sauce, ok not really.  My real motivation was to keep the dirty dish count down, but the other reason sounds more chef-y.

The verdict? Probably the best venison loin I have ever made.  The coffee and herb crust gave a nice texture and somewhat earthy flavor.  The sauce was rich and luxurious, so good that I almost wanted to drink it.  And now I don’t think I want my venison loin any other way!  For you unfortunate souls who don’t have any venison (bokkie or deer), beef tenderloin would work just as well.

Thanks Tandy for one of the best venison recipes ever! And thanks Debbi for hosting us every month!


Coffee, Juniper Berry, and Anise Crusted Venison Loin
Serves 6
Write a review
  1. 2 pound whole venison loin
  1. 1 1/2 cups red wine
  2. 1/2 cup coffee
  3. 10 juniper berries, lightly crushed
  4. 4 sprigs thyme
  5. 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  1. 1 star anise, ground up
  2. 3 juniper berries, ground up
  3. 1 large sprig rosemary, minced
  4. 2 Tablespoons ground coffee
  5. 1 teaspoon Cabernet or regular salt
  6. freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  1. 1 Tablespoon oil
  2. 1 Tablespoon butter
  1. 1 teaspoon beef base
  2. 2 teaspoons arrowroot
  3. Reserved marinade
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Trim all the silver skin from the loin, in a bowl or zipper lock bag add all the marinade ingredients and the venison. Marinade for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
  2. Remove the loin from the marinade and pat dry (reserve the marinade). Mix the rub ingredients together, and spread evenly over the loin, covering all parts.
  3. Heat oil and butter in a large cast iron or other heavy pan over medium high heat. Sear the tenderloin on each side, approximately 2 minutes each side, until a nice crust is formed. Place the pan and tenderloin in the oven and roast till the internal temperature reaches 130°F, about 15 to 20 minutes for rare to medium rare (cook longer if you like your meat more well done).
  4. Remove the loin to a plate and let rest. Place the pan on a burner set for a medium heat. Add the marinade to the pan and deglaze it, using a spoon to scrape up any crusty bits. Let the sauce simmer until it is reduced by half. Add the beef base. Mix the arrowroot with a little bit of water, enough to make a slurry. Whisk in the arrowroot slurry until well blended. Bring to a boil, boil for 1 minute whisking frequently, then reduce heat and continue to cook until desired consistency is achieved. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve. You can whisk in 1 to 2 tablespoons if desired just before serving.
  1. You can substitute cornstarch for the arrowroot.
  2. The loin was served on a bed of a simple saute of olive oil, spinach leaves, shallots, red wine vinegar and S&P.
The Kitchen Witch

Check out the reveals of our other SRC members:

Related Posts with Thumbnails

, , , , , ,

53 Responses to Coffee, Juniper Berry, and Anise Crusted Venison Loin

  1. Veronica April 21, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

    So, so, so fancy! And what a beautiful magazine-worthy photo! When are you publishing your cookbook?

    • Giggles April 22, 2013 at 8:02 am #

      You can call me Ms. Fancy Pants now, haha. A cookbook, ah, in my dreams!

  2. Tandy April 21, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

    I am in love with your version! The cup of coffee must have added such a lovely depth of flavour. Thank you for your kind words and for a great post 🙂

    • Giggles April 22, 2013 at 8:03 am #

      Tandy, thanks. I really enjoyed your blog, I want to go back to SA so bad now!

  3. Trisha April 22, 2013 at 12:20 am #

    That plate looks so professional, something that you’d see at a good restaurant. I think you’ve done a lovely job with it. ~ Stopping by from Group A.

    I’m hosting a giveaway on my blog and would love for you to be a part of it –

    • Giggles April 22, 2013 at 8:04 am #

      Thanks Trisha, it’s great to get a visit from another Group!

  4. Liz April 22, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    Wow, what a gourmet meal! So beautifully styled!!

    • Giggles April 22, 2013 at 8:11 am #

      Thanks Liz, it was a gourmet meal…made it easy to shoot!

  5. SeattleDee April 22, 2013 at 6:37 am #

    OMG this sounds a delicious blend of flavors to accompany a perfect piece of meat. I love your spoon-with-spices photo.

    • Giggles April 22, 2013 at 8:12 am #

      The spoon & spices shot is my favorite too, but the venison of course, was much better to eat 😉 The flavors really were a perfect compliment to the venison.

  6. Jen @JuanitasCocina April 22, 2013 at 7:59 am #

    I’d pay big bucks for someone to serve me this meal. *drool*

    • Giggles April 22, 2013 at 8:22 am #

      How much, I’ll be there, I know, I live in a fantasy world but wouldn’t that be great! And you can make me some chile rellenos cause I still can’t stop thinking about them.

  7. Debbi Does Dinner Healthy April 22, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    The rub on this meat sounds wonderful! The flavors sound fantastic! Great pictures!

    • Giggles April 22, 2013 at 9:06 am #

      Thanks Debbi, you are a great host which helps make this even more fun!

  8. Nancy/SpicieFoodie April 22, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    My mouth waters at your delicious photo Rhonda! I love juniper berries and they pair perfectly with venison. Now I’m hungry;)

    • Giggles April 22, 2013 at 10:52 am #

      Thanks Nancy! This is the first time I’ve cooked with juniper berries (my only other experience with them is in gin…). I’ll be using them much more now.

  9. Toni April 22, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Wow! What a gorgeous picture! I love venison and that looks delicious. I have no idea where I would ever get my grubbies on juniper berries, but I’d love to give this recipe a try. You’re awesome!

    • Giggles April 22, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Gin is full of juniper berries…that was going to be my back-up if I couldn’t find any. Do you have juniper trees in your area? Maybe you could forage or better yet, take a trip to San Francisco like I did.

  10. A Couple in the Kitchen April 22, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    Wow!!! Such a fancy recipe and gorgeous plating!

    • Giggles April 22, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      Thanks! Such a beautiful cut of meat made it easy!

  11. misschelsmangia April 22, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    That looks seriously scrumptious! Mouthwatering!

    • Giggles April 22, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      It’s definitely drool worthy.

  12. Melissa April 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Oh my! I think you’ve made venison gourmet!

    • Giggles April 22, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

      A sexy red wine sauce will do that!

  13. veronica gantley April 22, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    You had me at coffee!

    • Giggles April 22, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

      That is exactly why I was drawn to this venison recipe!

  14. Debra April 22, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    Deer, yes. Springbok, no. (I have images of lovely little sprite-like creatures frolicking about in a perfectly serene savannah.) 🙂

    I had Tandy’s blog awhile back. Love her recipes. This one is truly scrumptious looking!

    And, yes, I am happy you finally mentioned your trip! (Cabernet salt? I am further intrigued!)

    • Giggles April 23, 2013 at 9:51 am #

      Gauf, you crack me up…sprite like creatures, I won’t try and destroy your image. Cabernet salt, oh yes!

  15. Karen - Cinnamon Freud April 22, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    Love this dish- so unlike what I make in my kitchen- I love venison but have never cooked it myself. This inspires me to try some new stuff in the kitchen!

    • Giggles April 23, 2013 at 9:52 am #

      Isn’t that the best part of SRC, it’s so inspirational!

  16. Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet} April 22, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    Hubby would flip over this dish. Your dish looks and sounds incredibly tasty. Glad to be part of SRC group C with you!

    • Giggles April 23, 2013 at 9:53 am #

      Lisa, it’s definitely a Biker dude’s dish, a carnivores dream.

  17. Christine @ Christine's Kitchen Chronicles April 23, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Wow the ingredients in this recipe would take me way out of my comfort zone but man do you make it look delicious! I love it when your SRC partner’s blog is filled with like-minded goodies to make. Great pick!

    • Giggles April 23, 2013 at 9:54 am #

      The juniper berries were a stretch for me but they were great, I love pushing those comfort zones. Of course it’s much easier when your partner blog is filled with like minded recipes and you don’t have get overly adventurous.

  18. Camilla @ Culinary Adventures April 23, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Visiting from Group A. Oh, my! I have some juniper berries and coffee-salt. This is the must-cook recipe. I just need to find some venison. Thanks for posting for the SRC. This looks amazing.

    • Giggles April 25, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      Wow, coffee salt would be perfect for this. What is this coffee salt? I must find some!

  19. Desi April 23, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    That looks one beautiful plate of food! I’m not sure if I like venison but you make me wanna find out!! Looks like something right out of a restaurant!

    • Giggles April 25, 2013 at 10:52 am #

      Desi, I hope that one day you do get to try it, it’s a real treat! Especially if you can get some from a friend versus a restaurant. The venison in restaurants are from game farms and eat differently than the wild deer, changes the flavor.

  20. Mcgyver April 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Field to table, Ladies. And, Babe, that “beautiful cut of meat” is our own butchering. See, reading the book did some good!

    Mcgyver, out

    • Giggles April 25, 2013 at 10:46 am #

      I guess we’re not too old too learn new tricks!

  21. Heather April 23, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    That looks like it turned out great! Glad you found juniper berries!

    • Giggles April 25, 2013 at 10:45 am #

      Thanks Heather, and thanks for helping me acquire them!

  22. Karen (Back Road Journal) April 24, 2013 at 7:56 am #

    What terrific looking dish. I remember seeing this recipe on Tandy’s blog.

    • Giggles April 25, 2013 at 10:50 am #

      Karen, I can honestly say that it tastes even better than it looks! Tandy has a winner here!

  23. kristy @ gastronomical sovereignty April 24, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

    lovely – you, not the dish. but the dish too. the photographs are stunning and it’s pushing me over the edge… i’ve been wanting to make venison for a while and your rendition here solidifies it. it must be done.

    Happy SRC reveal from a group C member!!

    • Giggles April 25, 2013 at 10:45 am #

      Kristy, you are so sweet! Venison really should be tried. Love my fellow Group C’ers!

  24. Kitchen Butterfly April 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    Simple photo but gorgeous – love the splash of orange and the flavours

  25. Jennifer May 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    I’d like to invite you to my Friday Flash Blog, where you can share your best blog entry of the week! The party goes on ALL weekend at And who knows, you may just get featured next week.


  26. Holy Food May 9, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    I am delighted to read this article about coffee juniper berry anise crusted ..thank you for giving us this useful information. Great walk-through. I value this post.

  27. margaux December 14, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    I’m thinking of using the basics of this dish with a venison roast and slow cooker…I’d still put the rub on the venison and brown the meat before cooking, and put the marinade in with the meat. Do you think I still need to marinate the meat ahead of time?

    • Giggles December 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

      If you are using a slow cooker it’s not as important to marinade it because it will be cooking in the marinade for a long time. If you have time I would do both to boost the flavor and juiciness. Let me know how it turns out, sounds like a great idea for the roast.

      • margaux December 26, 2013 at 7:45 am #

        Everyone raved about the venison! I marinated for 1.5 hours, then did a light rub with just ground juniper berries, star anise, S&P, since the roast would be sitting in a bath of coffee (I used decaf) and thyme for 10 hours. When I reduced the marinade it was pretty salty, so I added a bit more beef broth than called for and kept it as more of a jus. Doubled the marinade for a ~7 lb roast.

        Thanks for the help!

        • Giggles December 26, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

          Wow, sounds like it all turned out well. When you up scale a recipe sometimes you have to make adjustments, sounds like you were right on the ball!