Braised venison shank, spelt, black garlic, mushroom, and truffle

At The River Room, we believe in using the best of local, seasonal produce and currently, game season is firmly upon us. To honour this, we are showcasing venison shank as a second course on our Tasting Menu. If you’re recreating this dish at home, it could be easily doubled in size to use as a lunch or dinner main course or remain this size as a starter.

The dish comprises of warm sticky rillettes of braised venison set upon spelt grains, cooked in mushroom stock, topped with sautéed mushrooms and truffle, and finished with a black garlic dressing.


Ingredients - serves 4:

  • 2 venison shanks, large
  • 500ml red wine
  • 1000ml brown chicken stock
  • 200ml white wine
  • 2 onions
  • Sprig of thyme and a bay leaf
  • 200g spelt
  • 200g mushrooms (I use ceps)
  • 8 cloves of black garlic
  • Sprig of parsley
  • Olive oil, butter, salt and pepper for cooking
  • 1 fresh truffle (about 15 -20 grams)



For the venison shanks:

In a heavy-based pot using a little oil, start to fry off the venison shanks until they are a dark golden colour all over. Slice the onion and add to the pot along with the thyme and bayleaf, continue to cook this until the onions are soft then add the red wine. Reduce the wine by half then add the chicken stock, bring to the boil.

Once the stock has started to simmer, cover the pot with a lid or tinfoil and place in an oven at 120oc until the meat falls cleanly from the bone and is very tender. (I cook mine for 4-5 hours)

Once cooked, remove the meat from the stock and strain the liquid into another pot and start to reduce to a sticky glaze. While this is reducing, gently pull the venison from the bone and reserve the meat, adding back into the pot with the stock when it has become thick and reduced in volume. Set aside.

For the mushroom spelt:

Using another large saucepan, cook most of the mushrooms in a little butter, salt and pepper until soft, add the spelt grains and continue to cook for a few minutes to head up the grains. Season and add the white wine then follow with enough chicken stock to cover the grains, allow this to simmer until the spelt is soft adding more chicken stock as it cooks, ensuring that it doesn’t dry out. Once cooked add a few knobs of butter to the mix and fold through the spelt also checking the seasoning.

For the black garlic dressing:

Chop the cloves of black garlic very finely along with flat parsley, season with salt and add olive oil until a wet dressing, almost like a pesto is formed.

To assemble the dish:

Fry off the remaining mushrooms in a small pan until golden then take a plate and place a large spoonful of the spelt in the centre followed by a spoonful of the sticky venison rillette in the centre of that, then the mushrooms on top. Place a few very thin slices of the truffle on top and finish with the black garlic and parsley dressing.



Wine Recommendation: Farina Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore

Valpolicella is the most famous red wine to come out of the Veneto wine region in the North East of Italy. The defining character of all quality Valpolicella is its fragrant, tangy cherry aroma, a quality which is carried through into the Ripasso wines, particularly those from the classico viticultural areas.

Great red wine is obtained with respect for tradition and territory. The first fermentation takes place in Autumn, after harvest. At the beginning of Spring, it is refermented (passed over in Italian Ripasso) on the Amarone pomace still soaked in wine, from which it extracts more structure, personality, aromas, and colour.

A striking wine with hints of dried morello cherries, herby fruit and coffee integrated with a distinct hit of spice. Incredibly smooth and complex with soft tannins, this wine has benefited from 18 months of cherry-oak ageing.

This further enhances the already richly textured wine with a distinctive bitter black fruit character which complements the dish perfectly.


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