I’m a history buff. I like old things–be they Clovis arrowheads, Viking shields, or fishing and hunting pictures from a century ago. This explains why a dish from the book The Whole Duty of a Woman, published 1737, has made its way into a blog about doing manly things. During a recent freezer defrost, I ran across some deer shanks from 2012. They are still fine to eat, but as a good manager of the deep freeze, it was up next in the batting order. Thumbing through my copy of Le Guide Culinaire, another old text written by the king of chefs and chef of kings–Auguste Escoffier– I decided use my shanks in recipe number 3894, which reads thus:
3894 Roast Joints of Beef in the English Style with Yorkshire Pudding.
“These are cooked rather well done and are always served accompanied with Yorkshire pudding.”
Easy right? So with Auggie’s guidance, this is how I did it:
Roast Joints of Venison
- Venison Shank per person
- 3 tablespoons of bacon fat, rendered
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 cup of diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced onions
- 3 bay leaves
- Sprig of Thyme
- 2 cups of red wine
- 4 cups of venison stock
- 1 cup of flour
- 1.25 cups of milk
- pinch of sea salt
- 3 tablespoons of bacon fat, rendered.
- 3 eggs
- pinch of black pepper
- pinch of grated nutmeg
Roast Joints of Venison
- First, melt your rendered bacon fat over medium high heat in a dutch oven.
- Season and lard your shanks with bacon.
- Brown your well seasoned shanks on each side, about 5 minutes each, then setting each aside in a large bowl.
- Deglaze with red wine, scraping all the bits of flavor from the pan between each shank. Then pour the juices into your reserve bowl until all shanks are browned.
- Add veggies and cook until glimmering, about ten minutes.
- Deglaze with the remainder of the wine and return shanks and drippings to the bowl.
- Braise for 4 hours at 275 or until meat begins to separate from the bone.
- Turn your oven to its highest setting, or about 550 degrees.
- Whisk eggs, milk, salt, spices and flour into a bowl and let it sit for half an hour in a pitcher that’s easy to pour.
- Drop your bacon fat into a well seasoned cast iron skillet, add a spoonful of juice from your roasted joints
- Turn your oven to its highest setting, and insert dish into the oven for about 5 minutes
- Carefully open the door and pour the batter into cast iron skillet and cook for 15 minutes
- After 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and cook for 15 more minutes
- Remove and serve immediately.
This quintessential British dish is tremendous. With an eggy custard like middle with crispy crust at the edges, akin to savory French Toast, Yorkshire pudding is a wonderful medium on which to serve braised venison. There’s a reason this dish has lasted so long. Get after it!