Venison shank transforms into filling for these tasty Italian rice balls
Shanks!!! Most say that this cut from the cervid family is tough and sinewy, and the shanks end up tossed in the grind pile or even worse, left in the gut bucket. Well, look past the sinew and forget about the tendons as a slow warm bath tenderize the shanks and develops into an amazingly rich broth.
Osso Buco — traditionally a cross-cut shank — is a high-end meal at your local Italian restaurant. In this unique recipe, we’re going to combine the richness of Osso Buco with the delightful crunch of arancini: Osso Buco-stuffed arancini.
This recipe transforms tender venison shanks, traditionally too small for cross-cut Osso Buco, into a mouthwatering filling for these crispy Italian rice balls. One of the reasons that I created this recipe is because arancini is basically an Italian boudin ball, and who doesn’t love a fresh crispy boudin ball?
OSSO BUCO INGREDIENTS:
- 2 Shanks (Venison or Wild Pigs)
- 2-3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 1 Small Onion, diced
- 1 Bell Pepper, diced
- 1 Head of Roasted Garlic
- 2 Carrots, diced
- 2 Stalks of Celery, diced
- 1 Cup of Mushrooms, sliced
- ½ Cup of Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 1 Can (6 oz) of Tomato Paste
- 1 Tablespoons of Parsley
- 1 Cup Red Wine
- 2-3 Quarts of Venison Stock
- 1 Tablespoon Italian Herb Blend
- Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
- 2 Cups Arborio Rice
- ¼ Cup of Shallots, minced
- 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
- 4 Cups of Broth from the Osso Buco or Stock
- ½ Cup of Red Wine (optional)
- ½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Brie Cheese, cut into small cubes
- Flour, for dusting
- 2-3 Large Eggs, beaten
- Breadcrumbs, for coating
- Vegetable Oil, for frying
- Start by preparing the venison Osso Buco, season the shanks heavily with salt, black pepper, and Italian herb blend.
- In a Dutch oven, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil then sear the shanks on all sides.
- Remove the shanks once they are seared, and sauté all the veggies (minus the roasted garlic) in the same pot until tender and translucent.
- Once sauteed, pour in the red wine and cook until reduced by half. (Remember, only cook with wine you would drink.)
- After the wine is reduced by half, stir in the tomato paste, roasted garlic, and stock. Add the shanks back to the Dutch Oven and place the lid on it.
- Simmer, or place in the oven at 300°F, the shanks and veggies for 2-5 hours or until tender but not falling off the bone. Cooking time varies based on the age of the animal and its stress level when it was killed.
- Monitor the liquid level in the Dutch oven throughout the cooking process to ensure that the meat is braising properly and not drying out.
- Once the meat is tender, remove it from the pot, and shred it for the arancini stuffing. Also, reserve 4 cups of the broth for the risotto and puree the remaining braising liquid and veggies until smooth with an immersion blender or a blender.
- While the venison is braising, prepare the Arborio rice as follows: In a pot, bring the stock or reserved Osso Buco broth to a simmer.
- In a large skillet or pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes until they become translucent.
- Add the Arborio rice to the pan and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until the rice is well-coated with the butter and has a slightly translucent edge.
- If using wine, pour it into the pan and stir until it’s mostly absorbed by the rice.
- Begin adding the stock or reserved Osso Buco broth gradually, one ladle at a time, stirring frequently. Allow each ladle of broth to be mostly absorbed by the rice before adding more. Continue this process until the rice is creamy and cooked but still slightly firm (al dente). This should take approximately 20-30 minutes.
- Remove the risotto from heat, stir in the grated parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the risotto to cool to room temperature.
- To assemble the arancini, take a small handful of the cooled risotto in your hand and flatten it. Place a cube of brie cheese and the shredded venison Osso Buco meat in the center, then encase the filling with the risotto and roll it into a ball. Repeat this process for the desired number of arancini.
- First, roll the arancini ball into flour and then dip it into the beaten eggs. Next, roll it in breadcrumbs, ensuring it’s evenly coated.
- Heat vegetable oil in a dutch oven or a deep fryer to 350-375°F. Carefully place the arancini in the hot oil and fry until they become golden brown and crispy on the outside, which should take about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the arancini from the oil using a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.
- Serve your homemade Osso Buco-stuffed arancini with some of the Osso Buco sauce and garnished with some fresh basil!