Beer Braised Venison Osso Buco
This satisfying venison osso buco recipe has a rich braising liquid made with Schwarzbier, the black lager of Germany, reduced beef stock, and aromatics. Blackberries infuse a delicate, dark fruitiness and work well with the juniper and other flavors. While it is quite simple, the end result is absolutely delicious.
- 4 venison osso buco
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to generously season the osso buco
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 16 oz Schwarzbier (or suggested substitute, see notes)
- 1 tablespoon beef base (or 1 cup beef stock reduced to about ⅓ cup)
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 3-4 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon juniper berries
- 8-10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 16 oz blackberries (increase to 22 oz for more dominant berry flavor)
- Preheat the oven to 300 F degrees and bring the venison osso buco to room temperature.
- Pat the meat dry and liberally season it with salt and pepper. Because venison is so lean, there’s no need to dust the osso buco with flour prior to browning.
- Place an appropriately sized Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add the butter and half the olive oil. Brown the osso buco, working in batches until nicely caramelized on all sides. Set aside.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the rest of the olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Deglaze with a bit of the Schwarzbier, carefully scraping all the browned bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven. Add the rest of the beer.
- Stir in the beef base and brown sugar, add the bay leaves, juniper berries, cloves, and thyme. As the liquid begins to simmer, add the blackberries, and bring to a boil.
- Place the osso buco back in the Durch oven, with the tapered sides facing up. Cover the Dutch oven and place it in the oven for 2 hours. After about 20 minutes, check that the braising liquid is gently simmering. If it is boiling, reduce the oven heat.
- After two hours the venison should be very close to fork tender. Test it to see how easily it separates from the shin bone - if needed, braise a bit longer, checking frequently so as to not overcook it.
- When the tenderness is to your satisfaction, use a slotted spoon or a spatula to gently lift the osso buco from the braising pot and place it on a plate. Tent with foil to keep warm while you make the sauce.
- Strain the contents of the Dutch oven into a bowl, discard all the solids. Because venison is so lean, there will be no excess fat to skim.
- Return the liquid to the Dutch oven and simmer until it reduces to a syrupy consistency. If you would rather speed up the process, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot powder with 1 tablespoon cold water and add the slurry to the simmering sauce; it should thicken fast.
- Serve the osso buco with plenty of sauce and garnish with fresh thyme. Creamy polenta or pillowy spaetzle noodles are both fabulous sides for this dish
- If you cannot find imported Schwarzbier, look for US craft-brewed black lagers (such as New Belgium’s 1554 or Moonlight Brewing Death & Taxes) or substitute with a porter or a stout ale.
- Black cherries make a good substitute for blackberries in this recipe, though their flavor sets the dish’s overall flavor on a slightly different course, it is a decadent one.