I made the weekly raid on the freezer for my birthday evening meal, and pulled out a shank of red deer venison. I hadn’t cooked this cut before, so I did a bit of googling, looked at the ingredients in the fridge and then made this braised venison. I think it would have worked well for up to two shanks, so we have ended up with a very tasty gravy for a second meal.
I’ve got really into using gluten-free flour as a thickener for stews and soups, the consistency of the gravy is good, not gluey at all.
- 1 or 2 red deer venison shanks (see above)
- 2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 small or 1 large stick of celery, diced
- approx 50g butter
- olive oil
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- a bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 250ml red wine
- 250ml vegetable stock
- salt and pepper
- 2 tsp juniper berries, bruised in a pestle and mortar
- 1 tbsp gluten-free flour
- Season the venison well with salt and pepper.
- In a pan that is big enough to cook the shanks, melt the butter in the olive oil. Set the oven to 150C
- Over a moderate heat, brown the shanks, one at a time, and then set aside.
- Reduce to a low heat, add the onions, carrots and celery to the same pan, and cook until softened.
- Add the red wine, and reduce
- Add the stock, bay, thyme, and juniper and tomatoes and cook down for around 15 minutes. This will give a better consistency and taste at the end.
- Add the venison shanks, bring back to a simmer and then cook in the oven for 4 hours. For the last 30 minutes of cooking, prepare any side dishes such as mash, cabbage, etcetera.
- At the end of cooking, remove the shanks from the pan, and mix the flour with a spoon or two of the gravy before adding to the pan and bringing to a simmer for around 5 minutes.
I have used red wine and chocolate before, in a stew with beef, served with fried potatoes and prunes in brandy, stunning. This I tried after watching a videoclip of Gordon Ramsey cooking venison backstrap. No quantities were given, but I have found some clues elsewhere. I added rather too much chocolate the first time. I also struggled to find all of the ingredients he used, so I had to substitute a little.
- Venison back-strap – allow a piece of meat around 5cm x 5cm x 2.5cm, approx 200g or similar for each person. I took one piece of the back-strap and cut it into three. I used local red deer venison.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp butter
- 3 shallots or one white onion if shallots are not available – finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic – finely chopped
- 2 bayleaves
- 5 sprigs of thyme, or a tsp dried thyme
- 12 black peppercorns, ground
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (the original recipe uses raspberry vinegar, but not available locally
- 300ml chicken stock
- 300ml red wine
- 30g unsweetened dark chocolate, finely chopped or grated.
- 100g smoked pancetta or streaky bacon
- Heat the oven to 220C. Cut some grease-proof paper, one section for each serving, and large enough to wrap up a portion of venison.
- Lightly season the venison with salt. Heat the oil in a pan until it is very hot, and then sear the venison on all sides.
- For each portion of venison, place on a piece of grease-proof paper, add a teaspoon of butter, wrap and put onto a small roasting tray. Put into the oven for eight to nine minutes.
- To make the sauce, fry the onion and pancetta in a small pan with a little olive oil , thyme, bayleaves and black pepper. As it starts to brown, add the garlic until that too is cooked.
- Add 300ml red wine, and reduce to a thick sauce by simmering.
- Add 300ml stock, and reduce by simmering.
- Strain out the solid ingredients. To the hot sauce, add a teaspoon of vinegar, and then whisk in the grated chocolate over a low heat. Do not bring back to the boil, just hot enough to melt the chocolate and no more.
- Take the venison from the oven, slice and then pour over the red wine and chocolate sauce.
I served this with roasted brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. This is definitely good with mash and green vegetables.