Iâ€™m so excitedâ€”I finally got a full subscription to Rouxbe Online Cooking School, and Iâ€™m starting to work my way through all the lessons and the practices. In just a few lessons, Iâ€™ve already learned so much thatâ€™s going make me a better cook.
I decided that as I work my way through the lessons, Iâ€™ll make at least one venison dish for the practice and post it. So here goes, my first lesson: braising.
I donâ€™t do much braising, and if I do itâ€™s usually in the slow cooker. Iâ€™ve always been lazy about the browning and deglazing steps, thinking they werenâ€™t all that important (wrong). And I never knew what a suc was (the little caramelized things on the bottom of the pan), let alone that theyâ€™re important for flavor and if you burn them, your whole dish will taste bitter.
Rick saved out three pieces of venison shank, which he had deboned. I thought theyâ€™d be perfect for my first experiment. I now wish Iâ€™d made several more pieces, thatâ€™s how good it was!
: Based on a recipe from Rouxbe Online Cooking School
- 4 to 6 boneless venison shanks
- pepper and salt rub (use a premade steak rub, or make your own)
- 1 to 2 tbs grape seed oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 rib celery
- 2 small carrots
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups full-bodied red wine
- 2 to 3 cups dark stock (chicken or veal)
- 1/4 cup brandy
- cream (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200Âº degrees.
- Prepare the mirepoixâ€”roughly chop the onion, celery, carrots and garlic and set aside.
- Trim any silver skin off the shanks. Liberally season with salt and pepper on all sides.
- Preheat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium to medium-high heat and add the oil.
- Brown (sear) the short ribs on all sides until nice and golden. Take care not to burn the sucs on the bottom of the pot. When done, transfer to a plate and set aside while you brown the mirepoix.
- To brown the mirepoix, drain any fat from the pot. Add the onions, celery and carrots. Once the vegetables have browned somewhat, add the garlic. Stir and let cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds or so. Then stir in the tomato paste and cook for about another minute.
- Deglaze with the brandy, scraping the bottom of the pot to release any sucs.
- Add the shanks back to the pot. Add the wine and top up with stockâ€”the liquid should rise at least two-thirds of the way up the meat.
- Add the thyme and bay leaf to the pot. Bring everything to a gentle simmer, cover the pot and then transfer the pot to the oven.
- Braise until the meat becomes fork tender. This will take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, depending on how tough the meat is. Every half hour or so, turn the meat.
- Once the meat is fork tender, remove from the oven and let the dish cool. Place it into the refrigerator to chill overnight. Prop up one side of the pot to allow any fat to pool to one side.
- Once the fat has hardened, gently scoop it off the surface. Reserve the fat to make a roux to thicken the sauce, if needed.
- To make the sauce, first place the venison back into a 200Âº degree oven. Once heated through, remove the meat from the pot, cover and keep warm. Remove the thyme sprig and bay leaves and discard.
- Strain the vegetables and place them into a blender. Add just enough of the braising liquid to blend the mirepoix thoroughly. Return everything to the pot and check the consistency.
- If the sauce is too thin, make a roux, using a bit of the fat and some flour. Add the roux, a bit at a time. Whisk continuously and let the sauce come up to a simmer before adding more. Keep adding the roux until you reach the desired consistency.
- To enrich the sauce, stir in the cream. Finally, season with the pepper and salt to taste. Return the ribs to the pot and warm to heat through.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Cooking time: 8 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Copyright Â© Susan Rose.