John DeLucie's Recipe for Venison Osso Buco

New York City chef John DeLucie shares an amazing Italian recipe for venison osso buco with couscous on the side.

Venison Osso Buco
Travis Rathbone

Any time you braise in wine, you are imparting flavor and tenderizing the meat. This technique works especially well with venison. I love venison because it's lean and it's natural. I have a buddy who hunts, and one season he shot a nice deer. We braised, grilled, and barbecued the whole thing. It was delicious. Of course, being surrounded by great wine and old friends helped.

Editors' Take: Don't worry; we weren't sure how to butcher an "osso buco steak," either. But now we do, and so will you. Use the hind shank as it has the most meat. Leaving on the bone, cut the shanks into two to three steaks, about 2 inches thick.

Ingredients -- Serves 6

Osso Buco:
6 14-oz. venison osso buco steaks
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp. oil 2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 14-oz. can peeled Italian tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 cups red wine
2 cups chicken or beef stock
1 TBSP. butter

Couscous:
11⁄2 cups Israeli pearl couscous
2 cups beef stock
2 Tbsp. butter
1⁄2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
6 fresh figs, quartered
Whole fresh herbs (thyme, chives, rosemary) for garnish

Directions ****

Osso Buco:
1. Salt and pepper venison steaks and dredge them in the flour. Heat deep skillet or Dutch oven, add oil, and begin browning the venison.

2. Add carrot, celery, onion, and garlic to skillet. When venison is brown on both sides, remove meat and vegetables from pan, and discard excess oil. Add tomatoes to pan and roast 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Return vegetables and venison to pan. Add bay leaf and cover with wine and stock. Simmer for 2 hours or until meat is tender and starts to fall off the bone.

4. Carefully remove the venison. Arrange in an ovenproof dish. Place in a warming oven.

5. Strain the vegetables out of the sauce (discard them), and finish it by blending in the butter. Pour the sauce back around the meat.

Couscous:
1. Bring stock to a boil in a pot, then add couscous. Cook until it's tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, then add butter and season with salt and pepper and chopped parsley.

2. Warm up the fruit. Be careful not to overcook. Add the warm fruit to couscous and combine.

Serving Tip: Serve on a warm platter garnished with fresh herbs.

John DeLucie is the executive chef and partner of The Waverly Inn in New York City, and the author of The Hunger: A Story of Food, Desire, and Ambition ($24; Harper Collins).