Next time you are butchering a deer, do not neglect to harvest the shanks.  There are numerous ways shanks can be cooked and they make a wonderful winter meal.

Last night, Kathy and I tried a new method of cooking venison shanks, taking inspiration from Moroccan tagine recipes.  Okay, this looks more complicated than the recipes I normally show.  However, apart from the long list of ingredients, it is relatively easy to make.  As always, feel free to vary the ingredients a little to suit your taste.

Ingredients:

2 venison shanks

flour, seasoned for dusting the shanks

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions (finely chopped)

3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

1 stick celery chopped

½ red capsicum, chopped

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon dried parsley (or use fresh)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

salt to taste

100 g pitted prunes (cut in half)

250g pumpkin (peeled and cut into cubes)

1 x 440g tin chickpeas

1litre beef stock (may not need all of this)

1 tin diced tomatoes

2 cups dried apricots (chopped)

2 cups butternut or other squash (diced)

zest of one lemon (for garnish)

chopped coriander (for garnish)

Method:

Preheat oven to 160C.

Dust the shanks with the seasoned flour and then brown in olive oil in a large dutch oven.

Remove the browned shanks to a dish. Add a little more oil to the pan and fry the onions, garlic, ginger, celery, capsicum and spices. Add pumpkin, apricots and prunes and stir well.

Add the tomatoes and about half of the stock.

Replace the shanks into this mixture. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if desired.

Place lid on the pan and put into the oven for one hour. Turn the shanks every now and then and add more stock if required. Reduce the oven heat to 120C and cook for a further hour or two. You can add the chick peas at this point.

Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes.  Remove meat from the shank leg bones, discard bones.  Stir meat into mix and serve.

Serving:

Serve with lemon zested couscous. Garnish with lots of fresh coriander leaves.  Fresh-baked, unleavened Pita bread goes really well with this dish too.