Venison Osso Bucco
Recipe and photos by Jamie Carlson
Osso Bucco is Italian and quite simply means “bone with a hole”, there are some recipes for Osso Bucco that use other cuts of meat but a truly authentic osso bucco is made with a cross cut piece of shank that is about 3 inches thick. The Shanks are one of the most underrated cuts of any animal. Most people throw them out or grind the meat into sausage. It is full of connective tissue and sinew that make them very tough. With the right style of cooking however those tough unusable portions can be turned into one of the most tender and delicious meals you will ever eat.
This recipe isn’t exclusive to venison either it can be made with any big game animal. The hardest part about this recipe was getting the cuts, I used to have a hand bone saw but it was really hard to make clean cuts with, so I went ahead and bought a sawzall that I use exclusively for cutting meat. It made very quick work of cutting the shanks down to size and honestly when I look at those cross cut pieces of venison shank I don’t know that I have ever seen a prettier cut of meat.
Osso Bucco isn’t a quick dish to just throw together so if you have never made it before you should know that this will take several hours before it is ready. The good news is, most of that time is hands off and just waiting for the meat to cook. This recipe includes direction for a Gremolata to finish the dish at serving.
4 three-inch thick pieces of shank
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium carrots cut into one inch chunks
1 medium onion diced
1 rib of celery diced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon rosemary
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and pepper
1 quart tomato sauce
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups white wine
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
grated lemon zest
juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
- Sprinkle the shanks with salt and pepper about 30 minutes before you start cooking. Heat the olive oil in a heavy Dutch oven or other oven proof pot over medium high heat. Right before you put the shanks in, sprinkle them with the cinnamon. (for whatever reason cinnamon and venison just work together)
- Brown the shanks on all sides then remove and set aside.
- Add the carrots, onion and celery and cook for about five minutes, then add the herbs and the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes
- Place the shanks back in the pot and add the tomato sauce, chicken stock and white wine. bring to a boil and then cover with a heavy lid and transfer to the oven at 325 for about 3 hours. (you can check on it after about two hours to see if the meat is tender enough)
- Mix the ingredients for the gremolata, when you are ready to serve – place a piece of shank on your plate and top with the gremolata and some of the braising liquid. I served mine with risotto but I think any starch would work, even some mashed potatoes.
This recipe was originally featured in the Outdoor News Taste of the Wild feature published in 2019.