Yield: 4 servings
Shanks!!! Most say that this cut from the cervid family is tough and sinewy, and the shanks end up tossed in the grind pile or even worse, left in the gut bucket. Well, look past the sinew and forget about the tendons as a slow warm bath tenderize the shanks and develops into an amazingly rich broth.
Osso buco—traditionally a cross-cut shank—is a high-end meal at your local Italian restaurant. This version utilizes the whole shank as venison shanks are typically too small for a cross-cut. If you manage to bag an elk, moose, or large mule deer, I would recommend trying the cross-cut traditional style for this recipe.
2 Shanks (Venison, Wild Pigs, Aoudad, Bear)
2-3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, diced
1 Bell Pepper, diced
1 Head of Roasted Garlic
2 Carrots, diced
2 Stalks of Celery, diced
1 Cup of Mushrooms, sliced
½ Cup of Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 Can (6oz) of Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoons of Parsley
1 Cup Red Wine
1 Quart of Venison Stock
1 Tablespoon Italian Herb Blend
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
1. Season the shanks heavily with salt, black pepper, and Italian herb blend.
2. In a Dutch oven, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil then sear the shanks on all sided.
3. Remove the shanks once they are seared, and sauté all the veggies (minus the roasted garlic) in the same pot until tender and translucent.
4. Once sauteed, pour in the red wine and cook until reduced by half. (Remember, only cook with wine you would drink.)
5. After the wine is reduced by half, stir in the tomato paste, roasted garlic, and stock. Add the shanks back to the Dutch Oven and place the lid on it.
6. Simmer, or place in the oven at 300°F, the shanks and veggies for 3-5 hours or until tender but not falling off the bone. Cooking time varies based on the age of the animal and its stress level when it was killed.
7. Monitor the liquid level in the Dutch oven throughout the cooking process to ensure that the meat is braising properly and not drying out.
8. Optional: Once the meat is tender, remove it from the pot and puree the braising liquid and veggies until smooth with an immersion blender or a blender.
9. Add salt or black pepper to taste.
10. Serve over polenta, risotto, rice, or even better my sweet potato and goat cheese grits (recipe below).
2 Small Baked Sweet Potatoes
1 Cup Stone Ground Grits
1.5 Cups Milk
1.5 Cups Venison Stock
½ Tablespoon Salt
½ Tablespoon White Pepper
1 Tablespoon Favorite Hot Sauce
4 ozs Goat Cheese
Optional: Pinch of Cayenne for additional heat
1. Bring the milk and stock to a boil in a medium pot, then season with the salt and white pepper.
2. Once the liquid is boiling, add the grits and reduce the heat to simmer.
3. Simmer the grits for 25-30 minutes until thick and creamy. In the last 5 minutes, stir in the hot sauce, sweet potatoes, and goat cheese until smooth.
4. Serve hot. Enjoy!