Ahhh shanks, in my opinion, one of the most delicious parts of any animal. Unfortunately this is an all to often under utilized cut of meat, whether it be just thrown in the grinder or cast aside all together. The key with the shanks is low and slow cooking. Doing this breaks down all the connective tissues and tendons that run through the shanks. The addition of wine and tomato adds acidity which aids in tenderizing this cut of meat. When all these tough parts are slowly cooked down the end result is a tender delicious dish that is guaranteed to make your wife happy and impress any hunting buddies you share with!
4 venison shanks (about 2-3 lbs)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 bottle of dry red wine
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 1/2 cups game stock (chicken stock is fine too)
5 thyme sprigs
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add shanks, season generously with salt and pepper, add the thyme and cook over moderate heat until well browned all over, about 15 minutes. Once all the shanks are nicely browned on all sides remove from the pot and set aside.
2. Heat the remaining olive oil in the same skillet. Add the garlic, onions, carrots and celery and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, oregano and 2 tablespoons of the parsley and bring to a boil. At this point add the venison back to the pot with all the other ingredients, cover the pot and put it in the over. Braise in the oven for about 5 hours, or until the shanks are very tender.
3. Transfer the venison shanks to a large serving dish and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Return the pot with the sauce and vegetables to a burner over medium-low heat; discard the thyme. Simmer the sauce and vegetables together until richly flavored, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and pour it over the venison shanks.
4. This is fantastic served over risotto, mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or polenta. When ready to serve garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley on top and enjoy!