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.
Beer Braised Venison Osso Buco

Ingredients

  • 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)

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F degrees and bring the venison osso buco to room temperature.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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

NOTES

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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