Venison Osso Buco with Tomatoes & Olives

Yield: 8 Servings

16 Center-Cut, Meaty Venison Hind Shanks Cut "Osso Buco" Style, 2 Inches Thick
All-Purpose Flour For Dredging
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3 TB Olive Oil
4 c Yellow Onions -- sliced
4 TB Garlic -- chopped
2 c Celery -- diced
2 c Carrots -- diced
3 c Plum Tomatoes -- diced
5 c Rich Venison Or Chicken

2 1/2 c Dry Red Wine
2/3 c Nicoise Or Kalamata Olives whole
2 ts Fennel Seed
1 TB Fresh Oregano minced or 1 ts Dried Oregano
1 1/2 ts Fresh Thyme minced or 1 ts Dried Thyme
1 ts Serrano Chile seeded and minced or 1/2 ts Red Chile Flakes

Fresh Herb Sprigs
Lemon Zest Mix--(Gremolata):
2 ts Lemon Zest -- grated
2 ts Garlic -- minced
2 TB Fresh Parsley -- minced

Preheat the oven to 350F. Dredge the venison shanks in flour and shake off excess. Season with salt and pepper. In a deep flameproof casserole or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and brown the shanks on all sides. Remove the shanks, wipe the casserole clean and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil along with the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. Saute until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, stock, wine, olives and seasonings. Return the shanks to the casserole, scooping some of the vegetable mixture on top of them. Cover the casserole and bake for 2 hours. Uncover and cook 30 minutes more or until the venison is very tender. Remove the shanks and set aside.
Strain the braising liquid and reserve the vegetables. Degrease the braising liquid and return it to the casserole. Over high heat, cook the liquid until reduced to a light sauce consistency. Return the meat and vegetables to the casserole and heat through. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the gremolata.
Serve the venison shanks in wide-rimmed soup bowls and ladle the hot braising liquid around. Sprinkle with the gremolata and garnish with herb sprigs.
Yield: 8 servings

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