I’m not vegetarian, but I do think if you’re going to kill animal you should make use of all of it, (I still have trouble with some offal, but I try). I have used shin for this recipe. Usually I would use beef shin, but I was lucky enough to be given some venison shin by friends who hunt (just in case you think the shin the photo looks different from what you’re using). Beef shin is relatively inexpensive compared to other cuts of meat, and benefits from long slow cooking when it literally just falls of the bone.
If you haven’t had it before, it reminds me of oxtail. Its unctuous and tasty and makes great stews and casseroles. This version is fantastic with pasta, but is equally great with mashed potatoes or as a pie filling.
I’ve used red wine in this sauce because I had some left, but if you don’t have any or prefer not to use alcohol you can swap this for beef or vegetable stock.
This is what I used to call a “weekend recipe” or slow food meaning its not a quick recipe, but it is fairly simple (since many of us are working from home at the minute, you can make recipes like this, cooking away while you work). I used an oven to cook this, but if you have a slow cooker this recipe is perfect.
1Kg Beef Shin
2 Large carrots (Cut into 1cm chunks)
2 Stalks of celery (Cut into 1cm chunks)
1 Large onion (Cut into 1cm chunks)
2 Bay leaves (Optional)
1/2 Bottle of red wine or 750 ml beef or vegetable stock
2 Tbsp Tomato puree
400ml Can of Passata or chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp Oil
1 Large knob of butter
Salt and Pepper
Heat the oil and put in a large oven proof pan (with a lid), and brown the shin on all sides, before setting to one side
In the same pan, add the chopped vegetables cook until soft, add the tomato puree and bay leaves and cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the wine
Allow the wine to cook until the alcohol has burned off (basically so it doesn’t sting your nose when you breath it in is the best way I can describe it). Preheat your oven to 160 degrees (celsius)
Add the passata, and place the meat back in the pan. Cover with a lid and cook for 2 .5 hours
After 2.5 hours remove the dish from the over and lift the shin meat out. On a separate plate you should be able to shred the meat from the bone with a fork
Add the shredded meat back into the sauce and stir well. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste
I’m lucky enough to have a very kind friend Bronagh, who’s husband enjoys hunting. She never arrives empty handed and on a recent visit brought me some delicious venison.
Venison is one of the healthiest meats you can eat. This recipe uses meat that requires long slow cooking. Other cuts of venison like the loin need to be served rare or else they’ll become tough.
When you have a really great ingredient like venison you don’t need to do a lot to it. About 10 minutes prep at the start and the oven does all the work for you. I love this served with greens, and velvety butter bean mash. It’s also fantastic with mashed potatoes or crusty bread to mop up all the delicious gravy.
1kg Venison (cut into 3-4cm chunks)
1 Large Onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
2 Carrots (peeled and roughly chopped)
2 Parsnips (peeled and roughly chopped)
2 Stalks of celery (cut into chunks)
250ml Red wine (optional, but replace with the same amount of stock if not using wine)
750ml Beef stock
3 Tbsps Plain flour
25 Grams Butter
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Tomato purée
1 Tbsp Dried thyme
Salt and pepper
Add the flour, salt and pepper to a plate and mix. Toss the chunks of venison in the seasoned flour
In an oven proof dish heat the oil and butter. Cook small batches of the venison chunks being careful not to overcrowd the pan so that the are sealed
Remove the venison and set to one side. Add all the vegetables (I like to keep them chunky) and tomato puree for 5 minutes stirring occasionally
Add the wine and cook for a further 5 minutes to allow the alcohol to burn off. Stir well to deglaze the pan, then add the thyme and beef stock cover with a lid and move to oven (this can be cook stove top, but I think then gives a more even heat)
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees, and cook for one and a half to two hours until the meat and vegetables are tender
Belfast is also home to two Universities. Ulster University has a campus right in the centre of the fashionable Cathedral Quarter. It also produces graduates from their hospitality and tourism degrees, who work in world class restaurants and resorts across the globe.
As part of student’s training, the University has their own restaurant (The Academy), which gives students experience of working in a fine dining establishment. The restaurant produces some of the best food I’ve eaten and is priced reasonably to cover running costs. Student are also trained to deliver Michelin star service.
The night I visited was a theme night based around game. The set menu included wood pigeon and venison with a quirky blackberry and lavender sorbet served in between as a palette cleanser. It took every ounce of reserve I had not to lick the plates.As part of student’s training, the University has their own restaurant (The Academy), which gives students experience of working in a fine dining establishment.
The restaurant produces some of the best food I’ve eaten and is priced reasonably to cover running costs. Student are also trained to deliver Michelin star service.
If you live in a city that has a hospitably/catering or culinary arts school, check out if they offer similar training facilities. You’ll eat extremely well for a reasonable price and provide students with a chance to gain experience with paying customers