A gorgeously rich casserole with with mushrooms, carrots, juniper berries, loads of wine and a subtle gamey taste.
Our local market has a great venison stall which stocks these fantastic venison shanks as well as venison steaks and several varieties of venison sausages. Two of the venison shanks were plenty for four of us, despite my doubts. If you can't get hold of venison, lamb would work equally well for this casserole.
Preperation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours
Cost: £3 per head (venison shanks were £3 each, I used 2, a cheap bottle of red and some vegetables)
Step 1: Ingredients
- 2 venison shanks (or lamb shanks if you prefer)
- 2 medium onions
- 100g bacon (I used smoked)
- 1/2 a swede (aka rutabaga) (or a few sticks of celery)
- 3 large carrots
- a few handfulls of mushrooms
- 3 garlic cloves
- 500ml red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 8-10 juniper berries
- a good grind of black pepper
- 1 beef oxo cube
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Step 2: Brown the Meat
Pre-heat your oven to 200C (390F)
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large oven proof pan on a high heat.
Add the two venison shanks and fry, turning occasionally to brown all sides.
Step 3: Onions and Bacon
Lower the heat to medium then add the bacon.
Skin then chop the onions into wedges. Add to the pan and soften in the bacon fat. Mmmmmm
Step 4: Carrots, Swede and Mushrooms
Slice the skin off the swede then cut the carrots and swede into large chunks. Quarter the larger mushrooms and leave the smaller ones whole.
Add the whole lot to the pan, stir and then leave to sweat for a short while.
Step 5: In With the Rest
After 10 minutes, squash the juniper berries with the side of a knife and add them to the pan with the beef stock cube, 2 bay leaves, finely chopped garlic and 500ml of red wine.
Bring to a simmer, leave for 5 minutes then place in the oven at 200C for 3 hours. (Yes, 3 hours!)
You may want to add a splash of water after an hour and a half if it needs it. It'll depend on how tight the lid of your pan is. The handle on mine's broken so steam escapes through the lid. I topped it up with 200ml of water.
Step 6: Serve
After the three hours are up the deer should be nice and tender. Slice some from the bone for two plates and leave the remaining meat on the bone for the other two.
Enjoy! We sure did.