I’m pretty sure this post will piss some people off, but I’m not here to please everybody and I reall don’t care. I live in Texas, our family (the family I married into) has a ranch and this is just what people do. The shot was good, the kill was clean and the deer did not suffer. The meat will be put to good use and none will go to waste. If you are still offended, then read no further.
Unfortunately, when it comes to venison, my family isn’t much help on what to do with it. Save the backstrap and chicken fry it, grill the tenderloins and turn the rest into sausage or hamburger meat. While all those are good, I wanted to do something more. To honor the deer and make a more elevated dish. Looking around, I found a recipe for Osso Buco on The Spruce Eats. It sounded right up my alley. This is my version with a few changes.
- 4 venison shanks (mine weighed out a little more than 4 lbs)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, finely chopped
- 2 medium stalks of celery, finely chopped
- 4 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup red wine (I used pinot noir)
- 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 3 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- optional – corn starch
- Preheat the oven to 325F
- Season the shanks with Kosher salt and black pepper.
- Heat a Dutch oven on the stove to medium high heat. Add the butter and olive oil.
- Brown the shanks on all sides two at a time. Remove to a platter and brown the remaining two. Remove when done.
- Reduce the heat to medium and sauté the onions, adding more oil if needed.
- When the onions are golden brown, add the carrot and celery and sauté for about 7 minutes or until soft.
- Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute.
- Stir in the red wine and deglaze the bottom of the Dutch oven, scraping up the bottom with a wooden spoon.
- Add the tomatoes, beef broth, bay leaves and thyme to the Dutch oven. Return the shanks and any juices that may have accumulated on the platter.
- Cover the pot and put it in the oven for 2.5-3 hours. When done, a fork or knife will easily shred the meat and pull it off the bone. If it’s not done, continue cooking until it is fork tender.
- When done, remove the shanks and allow to cool. Put the Dutch oven back on the stove on high heat and bring to a boil. Allow to reduce for about 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Meanwhile, remove the meat from the bone and shred it or cut it into chunks.
- If you want a thicker sauce, mix 2 tsp water and tsp corn starch in a small bowl and then whisk into the Dutch oven.
- Mix the parsley, garlic and lemon zest in a small bowl (called a gremolata).
- Serve the Osso Buco, topped with sauce and sprinkle some gremolata on top.
Osso Buco can be served with a variety of starches. Mashed potatoes, pasta, polenta and risotto would all be good choices. We chose to use fettuccine for ours for its simplicity and the fact that Mrs. G was decorating the tree and I had other things to do then make rissotto.
I can’t even begin to tell you how good this was!! Rich and hearty. Perfect for the cold weather we were having that Sunday night. Yes, I know, its Tuesday. I’ve been busy and it took me awhile to write this up. Sue me. No…wait…don’t. I need all the cash I have for Christmas presents. Hah!
The recipe called for this to be cooked 2.5-3 hours. I checked it and it was not done at 2.5. I feel like it was good at 3 and I needed to get dinner on the table so Duke could eat, but I would have preferred to have given it another half hour. So if you make this, I’d say shoot for 3-3.5 hours. Or maybe bump the temp up to 350. Might have just been my buck. He might have been tougher being an older guy. Who knows? But if you ever find yourself in possession of 4 venison shanks, give this a try. Or try it with veal or beef.
As for Duke, he wouldn’t eat it. He’s got this thing with brown sauce. We told him it was the deer I shot. We told him it was steak, which he loves. We bribed him with dessert and candy. Wouldn’t touch it. He ended up eating a hot dog. Maybe next year…