December 13, 2022
By Jack Hennessy
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So often hunters trim the meat from shanks and save for trim, but there is a lot of value and flavor in those bones, which can be used to make stock or broth. Homemade stock or broth is where the best soups and stews begin. If you’ve saved a bone-in shank, you owe it to yourself to give this recipe a try.
The difference between stock and broth, as I understand it, is stock is made from solely bones, while broth is made from bones with meat still attached. In this recipe, we are talking broth. Using the steps listed below, after 6 hours, any meat attached to your venison shank will easily peel off and shred, making this method a great option for those looking to get the most yield from their shanks.
Venison broth will taste a little like beef broth, but obviously with some more-earthy flavor notes that let you know it’s from wild game. Do note: A deer’s diet will affect the flavor of its bones and its marrow. Translation: Deer who’ve fed on corn or soybeans will taste amazing, while your swamp bucks may not make the greatest-tasting broth. This is something to consider prior to devoting the several hours necessary to make venison broth.
And it does take time, at least 7 hours, to make worthwhile venison broth, though most of that time is just babysitting your pot contents, ensuring that liquids never simmer more than barely a bubble here and there. If you need to add a little water back to the pot, that is fine. The idea is to have the bone stew in water for at least 7 hours and during that time, that water should barely ripple. Over several hours, that water will absorb the flavor from the venison shank and result in something very rich, rare, and special. From there, you’ll use that broth to make an unforgettable stew.
I used the shank for a whitetail hindquarter and that produced 48 ounces of stock. You are welcome to use any bone-in shank, though yield may vary based on the size and number of your shanks.
How to Make This Homemade Venison Stew Recipe Using Whole Deer Shanks
Deer Shank Broth Ingredients:
- 1 whole deer shank
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 stalk of celery, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1 sprig of sage, rosemary, and thyme
- Cold water
Venison Stew Ingredients:
- Meat picked from venison shank
- 48 ounces venison broth
- 1 (12-ounce) jar of roasted red peppers, puréed
- Olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly minced garlic
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 ribs of celery, sliced
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 cup farro cooked with 2 1/2 cups beef stock
- Trim venison shank of any thick patches of silver skin. Lightly salt and pepper and allow to sit in the fridge overnight.
- Sear shank over a wood fire (you can use propane or charcoal if a wood fire is not possible), enough to add a slight char. Remove and set aside.
- To make broth, in a Dutch oven or similar-size pot, add a thin layer of olive oil followed by chopped onion, celery, and carrots. Lightly salt and pepper and heat on medium. Cook until slightly soft and seared. Add grilled shank and completely cover with water. Add bay leaves and sprigs of thyme, sage, and rosemary. Reduce heat to low, so there is barely a bubble in pot.
- After 1 hour, remove the herb sprigs and bay leaves.
- After a total of 6 hours of barely simmering (make sure to monitor), meat should easily flake off the bone. Take out bone and use tongs to remove venison and chop into small pieces. Leave meat outside of broth and add the bone back to the broth to barely simmer for another hour.
- To make stew, sauté minced onion and carrot and sliced celery in olive oil in Dutch oven or similar-sized pot on medium heat. (If using same pot used to make broth, rinse and wipe it out first prior to making stew). Lightly salt and pepper.
- Once vegetables are seared and slightly soft, add finely minced garlic, stir in, and cook for a couple more minutes. Add venison broth and turn heat to low for barely a simmer.
- Drain roasted red peppers of any liquids. In a food process or blender, purée roasted red bell peppers and add to pot with venison broth. Stir in. Add venison chunks.
- To cook farro, in a separate saucepan, bring 2-1/2 cups of beef stock (or if you have enough venison stock after adding 48 ounces to stew pot, use that instead). Bring to a boil then add 1 cup farro. Reduce heat to low for a simmer until farro is tender, chewy, but still has a bit of an al dente bite. Add to stew.
- Lastly to make roux (used to thicken stew), in a small saucepan; add flour and cooking oil. Mix thoroughly and heat on medium-low. Stir frequently so not to burn. Once the color is color of wet sand, remove saucepan from burner and stir in a tablespoon of browning seasoning. Add roux to stew (stand back as it boils and bubbles) and stir in to thicken stew.
- Serve venison stew with warm bread and sliced scallions as garnish (optional).
Reach out to me on Instagram (@WildGameJack) with any questions or comments.
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