by Bobbie Jo Wasilko
He Hunts She Cooks
Do you think the shank meat is best suited for the grind pile because it’s not good for anything else? Well, after a long slow braise, the tough, stringy, sinewy shanks are fork tender, and full of flavor. This dish is reminiscent of the Italian countryside when paired with creamy asiago polenta, and kale.
Prep Time: 45 min
Cook Time: 4 hr
Total Time: 4 hr 45 min
For the Venison Shanks
- 2 Front and 2 Hind Bone-in Venison Shanks (substitute elk, deer, antelope, or wild pig)
- 1 large Onion, peeled
- 2 Carrots, peeled
- 2 Celery Stalks (leaves included )
- 2 cups Tawny Port (I used Christian Bros.)
- 1 cup Cabernet Wine (I used Sutter Home )
- 2 cups Chicken Stock (I used More Than Gourmet Brand = 2 Tbs. Demi Glace paste + 2 cups hot water )
- 5 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 10 Juniper Berries
- 1 Tbs. Garlic Powder
- 1 Tbs. Onion Powder
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Cracked Pepper
- Grape Seed Oil for searing
For the Mushroom Sauce (Gravy)
- 8 ounces sliced Mushrooms of your choice (i.e. Cremini/Portobello, Chanterelles, Button..)
- 3 tbs. Grape Seed Oil (or vegetable oil)
- 2 Tbs. Butter
- 2 Tbs. Corn Starch
- **Reserved Braising Liquid
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Remove the shanks from the fridge 1 hour before cooking to bring to room temperature.
- Season the shanks generously with kosher salt and pepper, set aside.
- Rough chop the onions, carrots and celery and set aside.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat with enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Add the shanks and sear on all sides until browned.
- Remove to a plate or casserole dish.
- Add the chopped onions, carrots, and celery and continue to sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the port and red wine over the vegetables and bring to a boil for 1 minute.
- Add the meat and all remaining ingredients back to the pan with the vegetables ( OR add all ingredients into a large casserole dish.
- ***Optional, Make a cartouche: Cut a piece of parchment paper to just fit inside the pan or dish.
- Push down the paper on top of the meat so the liquid comes overtop the paper (this will keep the meat moist on top so there is no need to turn the meat while braising).
- Cover the pan with the lid, or cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil.
- Place in the oven and braise for about 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, remove the cover and check for tenderness, and return if more time is needed.
- Once the meat is tender, remove the shanks to a plate and place a strainer over a large pot, and strain out all the vegetables and spices.
- **Save the Braising Liquid and discard the solids (they have done their job).
For the Mushroom Sauce (Gravy)
- In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and season with a little pepper (do not add salt).
- Sauté for 2 minutes.
- Turn down the heat to medium and sprinkle the corn starch directly over the mushrooms.
- Stir in reserved braising liquid over the mushrooms and cornstarch.
- Continue to stir for another minute until the mushroom gravy is thickened.
- Add the Shanks back to the pan and coat the meat with the mushroom sauce.
- Serve with Asiago Polenta and Sautéed Kale, or sides of your choice.
***Making the paper cartouche is optional, just turn the shanks over 2 hours into the cooking process, and keep the lid on the braising pan, or keep the casserole dish covered with aluminum foil.