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The Bend Magazine

Eggs Benedict with Venison Tenderloin, Pepper Maple Bacon, and Arugula

10/09/2020 10:02AM ● By Kayla Butts
By: Kayla & Justin Butts   Photos by: Rachel Benavides

Who is the hunter in your life? Is it a big burly man, donned head-to-toe in camouflage, the veteran of many hunts? Or is it a young woman, the fletching of her arrows tinged in pink, taking her first-ever deer? No matter who brings your game to the table, serve them a breakfast worthy of the hunt. This “Eggs Venedict” celebrates the venison while honoring the work of the hunter. The key to this recipe is the layering of complementary flavors. The base of the dish is a homemade English muffin that gives a hearty, tasty platform to stack flavors upon. Next comes the fresh bacon. Fresh bacon from a local farm is not cured in any way; no nitrates, no additives. Fry the bacon with a generous amount of sea salt and crushed red pepper, then finish the bacon, just at the end of cooking, with a touch of maple syrup

Next, slice and pound out your venison tenderloin into medallions, and cook them in the bacon drippings. The robust flavor of the lean venison pairs perfectly with the salty-sweet bacon, and the peppery drippings add even more flavor. Poaching an egg is an old world art, not easily mastered on the first try. Heat the water to simmering and add a splash of vinegar to help your eggs achieve a nice round shape. If you have trouble poaching in water, you can always use an egg poacher for quick and uniform poached eggs—don’t worry, we won’t tell! The trick to a good hollandaise is to heat the sauce to the lowest temperature that will cook the egg yolks. If your hollandaise sauce “breaks,” it becomes a chunky mess of semi-scrambled eggs rather than a golden, silky-smooth cream. To prevent breaking, don’t heat the eggs or add the butter too quickly. Cook your eggs yolks in a ceramic bowl, which conducts heat very slowly, over a pot of simmering water. Then slowly whisk in the cooled melted butter for a lovely, creamy hollandaise. The fresh tanginess of the arugula brings all the flavors together. You can find freshly–picked arugula this month at The Downtown Farmer’s Market in Corpus Christi. This breakfast will inspire your hunter to look more sharply into the forest than ever before and to shoot more keenly, simply to bring more of this good food home to your kitchen – so filling, so savory, so delicious.

Eggs Benedict with Venison Tenderloin, Pepper Maple Bacon, and Arugula

Serves 6
Prep time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep time: 2 hours, plus 8 hours
Cook time: 45 minutes
6 English muffins, recipe follows
6 poached eggs, recipe follows
Hollandaise sauce, recipe follows
1 lb uncured, thick-cut pastured bacon, cut in half
1 tbsp maple syrup Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
3 cups milk Venison tenderloin, cut into 1/2” medallions
3 cups Arugula
1 bunch chives

English Muffins
2 1/3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp instant yeast
3/4 salt
1 1/2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
Corn meal or semolina, for dusting

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter, egg, and milk and mix well until a soft dough is formed. Knead for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and shiny. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let dough rise until doubled in size, 1-2 hours. Gently punch dough down and divide into 6 rounds. Flatten your rounds until they are disks about 3” in diameter. Let your muffins rest for 20 minutes on your cast-iron griddle or frying pan that has been sprinkled with corn meal or semolina flour. Cook muffins over low heat until their exterior is golden and their interior is cooked through (registers about 200°F on an instant read thermometer).

Poached Eggs
6 pastured eggs
White vinegar
1/2 tsp salt


Place 4 custard cups, or an egg poacher in a deep sauté pan. Add water so that it covers the cups by 1/4”, followed by a splash of vinegar and salt. Heat the water until it just begins to boil. Crack your eggs, one by one, into a small bowl and add them to the custard cups one at a time. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until the white of the egg is mostly set, but the yolk remains runny. Remove finished eggs with a slotted spoon and repeat with additional eggs.

4 egg yolks of pastured eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp water (optional)

Add about an inch of water to a sauce pan and heat on low until simmering.Place a ceramic bowl over simmering water. Whisk yolks, salt, and cayenne together in the ceramic bowl and cook over low heat for one minute. Slowly add melted butter, whisking continuously, until a smooth sauce is formed. Add lemon juice and cook another 1-2 minutes, whisking occasionally. Add water if sauce is too thick.

For Eggs Benedict:
Submerge venison in milk and refrigerate overnight. In a large sauté pan, add bacon strips that have been seasoned liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp, about 5-7 minutes per side. Drizzle bacon with maple syrup while bacon is still hot. Reserve on a plate lined with paper towels. Remove venison from milk, rinse with cool water, and pat dry with paper towels. Heat bacon drippings over medium heat. Pound venison with a meat tenderizer until 1/4” thick. Season venison medallions liberally with salt and pepper. Add venison to pan and cook to medium rare, about 5 minutes on each side. Cut English muffins in half and apply butter to inside of each half. Broil on low for 2-3 minutes, until golden. To assemble eggs Benedict: Place 1/2 cup arugula on an English muffin half. Add venison filet, two slices of bacon, poached egg, and top with two tbsp hollandaise sauce. Finish with cayenne and chopped chives. Repeat with remaining ingredients and serve immediately.