If you happen to find yourself in possession of some elk shanks, or venison, lamb or even beef shanks, this braised elk shanks recipe is a good way to cook those tough cuts of meat until they are melt-in-your-mouth tender.
A while back, I bought a whole lot of osso bucco- cut elk shanks from my favourite specialty meat store. The first batch made its way into my Elk or Venison Osoo Bucco recipe which was a great success. This time I wanted to make something a little different, so I decided to mix and match some ingredients that I’ve tried before and know that they work together nicely. This recipe is the result of that experiment.
The shanks of an animal are among my ultimate favourite cuts. They tend to be cheaper cuts than the more popular chops and steaks, but when cooked right they become among the most satisfyingly delicious cuts of meat in existence. I think it’s because of all the connective tissue in these cuts which softens with low and slow cooking to become succulent and tender. I could write poetry about how much I love lamb shanks, for example. If they weren’t so fatty I’d eat them almost every day. Oh, and by the way, the elk shanks were not as fatty as lamb shanks, so that’s a nice little advantage!
The most important thing about cooking elk shanks or lamb shanks is time, somewhat low heat, and liquid. If you have those three things I guarantee they will cook perfectly. Preparation is very quick and easy, and the oven does the rest of the work. You’ll need to start early in the day, since it’ll need a good three hours to cook; so patience and planning are important too. Other than that, it’s fairly easy to make. I first tried elk here in Canada, and it has become one of my favourite meats ever. It is expensive, though, so for now it will be more like an occasional treat rather than a regular part of our food routine.
- One kilogram elk shanks cut osso bucco style
- A 1/4 cup of dark soy sauce
- Two tablespoons tomato paste
- Five cloves of garlic
- One teaspoon powdered ginger, or if you have fresh grated ginger, then 1 tablespoon
- One cup dried shiitake mushrooms
- One large onion
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
- Two tablespoons gochujang
- One tablespoon brown sugar
- Five medium carrots
- Six small potatoes
- Two tablespoons canola oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (for conversion to Celsius, check the Conversions section of this site)
- In a medium bowl, place the shiitake mushrooms and pour hot water on them, set aside while you do steps 3 and 4.
- In a large oven-proof pot (like a Dutch oven or stew pot, as long as you make sure it is oven-proof), heat the oil. Season the elk shanks with a little salt and pepper and brown them on both sides.
- Set them aside, then add the chopped onion, carrots, garlic and potatoes.
- Add the tomato paste, gochujang, soy sauce, brown sugar and two cups of water
- Add the paprika, chilli flakes and ginger and the shiitake mushrooms and 1 cup of the shiitake mushroom water.
- Bring to a boil, then add the elk shanks again into the pot. Bring to a boil once again.
- Once boiling, cover and place inside the oven. Cook for three hours or until the elk shanks are tender. If the cooking liquid gets too low, add some extra hot water.
- After three hours, remove from oven, let rest for 10 minutes, then serve over steamed rice. Enjoy! Don’t worry if you have some leftovers; this dish tastes even better the next day!
For another Elk shanks recipe, check out this Elk or Venison Osso Bucco recipe.
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