My Favorite Recipe from Lidia Bastianich

What are you doing to make the season special?  I cook recipes like this and gather friends and family around.  This is what I love to do.  There is nothing like a braise to perfume the house and welcome guests.  The beauty of this recipe is in the flavors it produces, deep earthy and is perfect for the winter season. This recipe begs for a fireplace, red wine and good company. The perfect antidote for the holidays, a snowy evening or anytime you are craving comfort food.

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Years ago I had venison in the freezer and had no idea how to prepare it. Venison has no fat and fat is flavor in my book. I was stumped on how to make it edible. Most of the venison I had sampled was tough and stringy. I stumbled upon this recipe from Lidia Bastianich in a copy of the Saveur Cooks series. It was listed as an option to the classic Osso Buco in a side bar of the Saveur Cooks: Authentic Italian 2001. This recipe is one that I make over and over, one of my winter staples.  I have to tell you, this recipe has totally changed my relationship with venison.

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I saw a Facebook post from Lidia Bastianich the other day asking for us to upload a video of us cooking one of her favorite recipes.  It must have been fate because I was planning to make Venison Osso Buco.  

We are in the midst of hunting season and as I am from West Virginia there is no shortage of venison in our home. I know it’s a bit controversial but the more we learn about where our food comes from and the way it’s raised, there is no more organic meat then the venison that friends and family donate to us.

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I didn’t have venison shanks so I used a roast that I cut into pieces.  When I invite others over for dinner they turn up their nose at venison, until they try this. Lidia has been a tremendous influence over us with this recipe and many others. This was my first exposure to one Lidia, and this has to a great relationship with her work over the years.

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I am extremely grateful to Lidia for all she has done to influence our palates and our tables. I encourage you to try one of her recipes this season and feel the joy. It’s like being guided by the Italian Nonna and that is so special.

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Now for the Recipe:

CLICK HERE for the Recipe Page

Years ago I spotted this recipe from Lidia Bastianich, noted on a sidebar in Saveur Cooks: Authentic Italian.  Over the years I’ve adapted this into my kitchen using a venison roast cut into pieces instead of the shanks (because that is what I had), adjusting measurements here and there.  This is the recipe that changed my relationship with venison and has influenced many others that have sat at my table. If venison is not your thing try Lamb Shanks, Short Ribs, or any cut of braising meat.  It really is a wonderful recipe.  CLICK HERE for the entire blog post

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Lidia’s Venison Osso Buco

I love to serve this with something to soak up the sauce. Polenta or risotto are the traditional favorites but feel free to experiment with farro, pasta, rice or even mashed potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 Onions, Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Of Olive Oil + 2 Tablespoons
  • 1 Carrot, Shredded
  • 1 Rib of Celery, Chopped
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 4 Whole Cloves
  • 1 Sprig of Fresh Rosemary
  • 10 Juniper Berries
  • 3 - 4 lb Venison Roast, cut into 8 oz serving pieces
  • 2 Cups of Flour, more as needed
  • 2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
  • 1 Cup Fruity Red Wine
  • 1 Cup Fresh Carrot Juice
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • Zest and Juice from 1 Orange
  • 1 28 oz Can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes, drained of juice and crushed
  • 2 Cups of Chicken Stock
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat, reduce heat and sauté the onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the shredded carrot, celery, bay leaf, cloves, rosemary, and juniper berries. Sauté until the vegetables are soft and golden, about 15 minutes. Ass 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and sauté until caramelized.
  2. Season the venison with salt and pepper then dredge in the flour. Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet and sear the venison over high heat until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  3. Nestle the venison into the vegetables in the large pot. Deglaze the skillet used to brown the shanks with the red wine scraping up the browned bits and add to the pot along with the carrot juice, lemon zest, and orange zest and juice, bring to a boil to reduce the liquid about 5 minutes. Adjust the heat so the liquid in the pot is simmering, add the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as they go into the pot. Simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir 2 cups of hot chicken stock into the pot and simmer until the meat is fork tender.
  4. Remove the venison to a plate, pass the sauce through a food mill, clean out your pot then return the meat and the sauce to it. Keep warm until ready to serve.
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