4×250 g Venison shanks
250 ml Red wine
100 ml Port
25 ml Vegetable oil
100 g Carrot, peeled and chopped
100 g Onion, peeled and chopped
100 g Celery, sliced
4 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 ltr Veal or venison stock
1 Sprig fresh thyme
2 Fresh bay leaves
2 Juniper berries, lightly crushed
2 Strips of orange peel with pith removed
Freshly ground pepper
50 g Unsalted butter
2 Leeks, white part only, sliced into 1cm rounds
100 ml Braising stock
200 g Braised shallots (see separate recipe)
1 Bunch of baby carrots, peeled and blanched
100 ml Olive oil
½ Bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 Puff pastry disc, 3mm thick, to overlap the rim of each pie dish by 1cm
1 Free-range egg yolk, whisked for egg wash
Pre-heat the oven to 140°C. Lay the venison shanks on a work surface and season well with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Place the red wine and Port into a heavy-based saucepan and reduce by half over a medium heat. Set aside until ready to use.
In a large cast-iron pan heat the vegetable oil over a medium heat. Add the shanks and seal them, turning frequently for 15 – 20 minutes until evenly browned. As the fat renders down, pour it from the pan. It is important the pan retains its heat so that the shanks are evenly coloured and retains all its juices. Remove the shanks from the pan and return the pan to the heat. Add the chopped carrot, onion, celery and the crushed garlic and cook until golden brown. Pour the reduced red wine and Port over the vegetables and deglaze the pan with it.
Transfer the vegetables and alcohol into a large heavy-based pot. Add the shanks and cover with the veal or venison stock. Return to the heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat so that the stock just simmers. It is important the cooking liquid just simmers during cooking to prevent the shanks becoming tough and chewy. Skim the surface to remove any scum that floats to the top. Add the thyme, bay leaves, juniper berries and orange peel to the pot cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook slowly for 3-4 hours depending on the size of the shanks until they are tender and coming away from the bone. Carefully lift the shanks from the stock and place on a tray. Once the shanks are cold, remove the bones and break the meat into large pieces, removing any excess fat and sinew.
Season the poaching liquid to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Prepare the garnish. Melt the butter in a medium-sized frying-pan over a low heat. Add the leeks, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes until lightly coloured. Add the braising stock and cook the leeks for a further 5 minutes until three quarters cooked, then set aside.
Place the braised venison, leeks, carrots, braised shallots and chopped herbs into a large bowl and mix together. Bind the venison mixture with 2/3 of the sauce, then spoon into the pie dishes. Pour a little more sauce into each pie dish.
Brush the top of the inside of each dish with a little egg yolk, and then lay the pastry over the top, sealing it at the top edge and over the side of the dish. Slice any excess pastry off. Place the pies in the fridge for half an hour before baking. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush the pastry lids with egg wash and make two slits with the tip of a knife for the steam to escape. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden. Allow to rest a couple of minutes before serving. Serve with a garnish of your choice.