Onion Soup with Venison ShanksSep 7th, 2012 | By Cecilia | Category: blog, cook something, meat and poultry, soups and salads
This is a classic French onion soup with the addition of rich, long-cooked venison shanks. By cooking the oft-discarded skinny shanks of the venison in this way, you extract not only the rich stock from the bones, but utilize the scant but valuable meat from the legs. The long cooking process melds the sweetness of the copious onions and the meatiness of the venison, making this a perfect cold-weather dish. Use the best Gruyère you can get your hands on. ~ Jesse Griffiths
4 venison shanks (about 4 pounds), cut into 6- to 8-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
10 large onions, sliced
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup sherry or balsamic vinegar
4 slices of good bread
4 thick slices of Gruyère or Emmentaler cheese
1. Season the venison shanks with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and brown the shanks well, about 8 minutes.
2. Transfer the shanks to a plate, lower the heat to medium, add the onions and bay leaves, and cook, stirring often, until deeply browned and caramelized, about 30 minutes.
3. Add the sherry or balsamic vinegar, shanks, and enough water to cover by 4 inches, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook the venison until it is very tender, about 5 hours, adding more water, if necessary, to keep the shanks covered. Alternatively, the mixture can be cooked in a slow cooker on low heat for 4 to 6 hours, until tender.
4. Preheat the broiler. Lightly toast the bread. Cover each slice of toast with a slice of cheese, and broil until the cheese is melted, browned, and bubbling.
5. Season the soup with salt and lots of pepper, and then divide the shanks and soup among four large bowls. Place a piece of toast, covered with melted cheese, in each bowl and serve immediately with a simple salad and red wine.