Sunday 27 December 2015

Slow Braised Venison Shanks

Our good friend Sam is a forest ranger so his job involves regularly culling deer and he has been very kind in filling our freezer with a selection of cuts. I know most people won't have a forest ranger friend but your local butcher should be able to get venison for you, and I do recommend you try it as it is a lean red meat quite different to beef, lamb or pork. I'm planning on doing a few venison dishes over the next few months when away in the van but the first on the list are these shanks. Cook them the same as lamb shanks but as the bone is pretty big remove it before plating up. The slow braised, melt in your mouth meat goes perfectly with mashed spud but you could serve it with couscous or polenta too.


2x Venison shanks
1x Celery stick, sliced
2x Carrots, sliced
1x Onion, sliced
1x Leek, sliced
2x Garlic cloves, crushed
Half tube tomato purée
1x Bay leaf
1x Tsp whole black peppercorns
1x Tbsp caraway seeds
1x Tbsp chopped parsley stalk
1x Thyme sprig
1x Tbsp cranberry sauce
500ml Chicken stock
Red wine - half a bottle

For Creamy Brie Leeks: 
2x Leeks, sliced
200ml Double cream
Half a Brie, rind removed
Grated cheddar, about a handful
Breadcrumbs, about a handful


For the Venison: 
1. In big frying pan brown the venison shanks all over then set aside.
2. In the same pan sweat off the onion until translucent then add the celery, carrots, leek and garlic and stir for about 2 minutes.
3. Squirt in half a tube of tomato puree and mix into the veg well.
4. Add the wine a glass at a time, allowing it to reduce to a sticky sauce before adding the next glass.
5. Pour in the stock and add the bay leaf, peppercorns, caraway seeds, parsley stalks, thyme and cranberry sauce.
6. Bring the sauce to a simmer, taste and season then pour the whole lot into an oven dish.
7. Put the shanks in the sauce then cover tightly with foil or a lid and put in the oven on gas mark 1 (140C/280F) for 2-3 hours. You know when the shanks are done when the meat just falls off the bone.
8. When they are done remove the shanks and set aside, strain the veg out of the sauce then reduce the sauce in a pan on the stove until you reach a nice consistency.

For the Leeks:
1. Cook the leeks in a frying pan for about 5 minutes.
2. Pour in the cream.
3. When the cream warms up add the brie and stir until melted.
4. Pour into a dish, top with cheddar then breadcrumbs and pop under the grill until the breadcrumbs are golden and the cheddar has melted.

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