Venison Shank Stew

The only thing I love more than spending a winter day outdoors is coming back inside and smelling a delicious stew simmering in the slow cooker. It’s a great way to beat cabin fever!

This stew utilizes venison shank meat, which is an often under-utilized cut that’s simply thrown into a pile for the grinder. But slowly braising it all day creates the most tender meat and turns the tough silver skin into silky gelatin. You can cook it whole with the bone in if your slow cooker or pot is large enough, but you can also strip the meat off the bone beforehand.

 Notes from the Chef: While you can simply throw all the ingredients into a slow cooker and walk away, you will develop deeper flavors by browning the meat and cooking the vegetables first. You can leave the vegetables in roughly cut chunks since you’ll cook it all day. But since my kids are picky, I mince and puree the cooked vegetables before adding to the stew (less arguments that way).

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

2 venison shanks (bone-in or boneless)

3-4 cups baby red potatoes, cut in half

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped roughly

1 large yellow onion, chopped roughly

2 ribs celery, chopped roughly

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 small can green chili peppers

3 cups beef stock or venison bone broth

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons butter

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

 

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat oil and butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the shank pieces on all sides and then transfer to the slow cooker.
  2. Add broth to the slow cooker and turn to the high setting.
  3. Reduce the stovetop heat to low, and gently cook the onion, carrot, and celery for 10 minutes or until they soften. Add minced garlic, green chilis, herbs, and spices, and cook for another two minutes. If you want to “hide” these veggies as I did, puree them in a food processor after cooking. Transfer to the slow cooker. Let this cook for 4 hours on the high setting.
  4. Add the baby red potatoes to the Crock-Pot® and let cook for an additional 3 hours. Adding them over halfway through helps them retain a little texture without turning into mush.
  5. If the shanks are tender, pull them out and shred them. Remove any bones, connective tissue, and bay leaves at this time. Add the meat back into the stew.
  6. Serve with some crusty bread.
Related:  Chipotle Elk Sliders

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