This dish is designed specifically for shanks from younger animal. If you make this with older animals, the flavors won’t work as well.
I also garnish this dish with some of my preserved garlic, but unless you’ve already made some, just carefully extract some of the garlic cloves from the pot before you puree the soup. The taste is a little different — the preserved garlic has some vinegar and sugar in it — but just as good.
Serve this with mashed potatoes, polenta or something else to soak up the sauce, which is so good you will want to save any leftovers; it’s great as a pasta sauce the next day.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
- 4 venison (or lamb) shanks
- 4 heads of garlic, peeled
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken or other light stock
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for - garnish
- Zest of a lemon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Take the shanks out of the fridge, coat them in a little oil and salt them well. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Heat the vegetable oil or butter in a Dutch oven (or other ovenproof pan that will fit all the shanks) and brown the shanks on every side but the one with the “shin,” where the bone shows clearly — if you brown this part, the shank is more likely to fall apart before you want it to. Remove the shanks as they brown and set aside.
While the shanks are browning, peel the garlic. Think it’s hard to peel 4 heads of garlic? Try this trick: Separate the cloves and put them in a metal bowl. Cover the bowl with one the same size and shake them vigorously for about 10 seconds. All the cloves will be peeled. Here is a video of the process.
Put the garlic in the pot and brown just a little. Pour in the white wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Bring this to a boil and add the chicken stock, thyme, rosemary and lemon zest. bring to a simmer and add salt to taste. Return the shanks to the pot and arrange “shin” side up with the garlic all around them. Cover the pot and cook in the oven until the meat wants to fall off the bone, anywhere from an hour to 2 hours.
Carefully remove the shanks and arrange on a baking sheet or small roasting pan. Turn the oven to 400°F. Remove about 12 of the nicest garlic cloves and set aside.
Puree the sauce in a blender, swirl in the unsalted butter and pour the sauce into a small pot to keep warm.
Paint the shanks with some of the sauce and put them in the oven. Paint every 5 minutes for 15 minutes, or until there is a nice glaze on the shanks. To serve, give everyone some mashed potatoes or polenta and a shank. Pour some sauce over everything and garnish with the roasted garlic cloves and rosemary.