If you’ve ever tried to ‘clean up’ a shank, you’ll know that it’s dang near impossible and the time spent doing it versus the amount of meat that you trim off hardly seems worth it. After cutting up a total of 3 deer and dealing with the shanks on two of them I decided to screw it, I’m just packaging them up whole and figure something out later.
The other day I stumbled across a recipe for Osso Buco – which is Italian for “Bone with a Hole”, referring to the marrow of the bone. Traditionally Osso Buco was made with cross-cut veal shanks but any type of shank can be used. The beauty of this recipe is what it does to a shank, which is tough and full of tendons. Through the cooking process the tendons and marrow melt down and the remaining meat becomes incredibly tender. The wine, broth, and vegetables marinade the dish and infuse it with flavor. After trying this I wish deer came with eight legs. And I certainly regret cutting up the shanks from the other two deer and sending it through the grinder – just to end up getting my blades all gunked up with tendons.
You will need a dutch oven. I used a 6 quart which seems to be perfect.
Shanks. You will want at least two shanks. The rear shanks have more meat than the front. It is easiest to cut the shanks when they are frozen. using a hacksaw cut the shanks into 3″ chunks. Cut off the narrow ends of the shank first since you’ll need enough base on each end of the shank to have it stand on its own while browning.
2-4 venison shanks – depending on the number of servings you want. I used 3. Cut into 3″ chunks. Tie with kitchen twine to ensure the meat stays on the bone.
2 bay leaves
1 can diced tomatoes
2 celery stalks chopped
1 onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
2 cups red wine
2 cups beef broth
Vegetable oil – enough for 1/4″ at the bottom of the dutch oven
0. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
1. Over medium high heat, add the oil to the dutch oven
2. Season the flour with salt and pepper and coat the shanks on all sides.
3. Once oil is hot, add shanks – cut side down. Brown 3-4 minutes then brown the other side.
4. Once shanks have been browned on both sides, remove from dutch oven. Drain off excess oil except for 2 tablespoons.
5. Add onion, garlic, carrot, celery. Sautee for 2-3 minutes.
6. Add shanks back in, cut side down.
7. Add in diced tomatoes, broth, red wine, and bay leaves. You should have just enough liquid to where the shanks are not fully submerged. The very tops of the shanks should be visible. Cover and bring to a simmer.
8. Once you have brought it to a simmer, move dutch oven to the oven.
9. Allow the delectable mixture to braise for 3-4 hours. Check every hour to ensure there is still enough liquid. If not, add more broth or water.
10. Remove from oven, carefully remove shanks and set aside. Strain the vegetables from the liquid. Simmer on the stove top uncovered to reduce the liquid.
11. Reduce heat and add shanks back to the pot to cover in sauce.
Plate the shanks over couscous, rice, polenta, mashed potatoes, or you can even toss with pasta.