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Red Wine Braised Venison Osso bucco with Mascarpone Polenta and Gremolata

Venison Osso Bucco
Venison Osso Bucco

Osso bucco is a soul warming meal believed to originate around the Lombardy region of Italy, around the late 18th century and has stood the test of time. Since its creation, it has undergone many transformations over the years, but the star of the dish still aligns with its given name “osso bucco”. 

Osso bucco translates to “bone with the hole” in Italian. The hole is from the shanks of veal, pork, lamb, or in this case venison, being cut into disks around 2 inches thick, exposing the marrow. By having the marrow exposed, it's able to render out during the slow cooking process and transform the braising liquid into something magical that can be used to sauce the meat at serving time.

The fork tender shanks are served over polenta which gets some extra creaminess from mascarpone cheese. The dish is then topped off with a zesty horseradish gremolata for an extra kick and to balance some of the richness. My wine of choice for this dish is an Italian wine known as Barolo, but if you can't find it, simply use the best dry red wine that you can find.

Serves: 3 to 4 People

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3 to 4 hours

Cooks Notes

  • You can make the shanks up to three days in advance and the polenta up to two days in advance.

  • Make the gremolata the day you are eating.

  • If you are unable to find coarse polenta, simply follow the directions on the package. After it is cooked, add in the cheeses and butter.


For the Shanks

  • 2 tablespoons - Cooking oil (high smoke point such as grapeseed)

  • 4 - Venison shanks cut into around 2 inch disks (optionally tied with butcher's twine)

  • All-purpose flour, as needed for dredging the shanks

  • 2 1/2 cups - Onions, thinly sliced

  • 2 cups - Carrots, diced

  • 2 cups - Celery, diced

  • 1 tablespoon - Fennel seeds

  • 10 - Sprigs fresh thyme

  • 3 - Sprigs fresh rosemary

  • 4 - Garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 - Bay leaves

  • 1/4 cup - Tomato paste

  • 2 cup - Barolo (or another dry red wine)

  • 7 cups - Chicken stock

  • Salt & Black pepper to taste

For the Polenta:

  • 4 cups - Water

  • 1 cup - Coarse polenta 

  • 1 cup - Milk

  • 2 tablespoons - Unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup - Mascarpone cheese

  • 1 cup - Parmesan cheese 

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

For the Gremolata

  • 1/2 cup - Fresh parsley, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons - Olive oil

  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

  • 1 teaspoon - lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon - kosher salt

  • 2 - Cloves of garlic, minced 

  • 2 tablespoons - horseradish, grated

  • Salt and black pepper to taste


For the Shanks

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

  2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or wide pot over medium-high heat.

  3. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Now dredge the shanks in the flour, Shake any excess off.

  4. Add the shanks to the hot pan, and cook on all sides until browned. Cook in batches if needed to avoid steaming the meat.

  5. Remove the shanks and set aside.

  6. Lower the heat to medium. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, fennel, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and one teaspoon of salt to the pot. Cook until softened, while stirring often, about 4-5 minutes.

  7. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.

  8. Add the wine, scraping with a spoon to deglaze the pan.

  9. Return the shanks to the pot, 

  10.  Add enough chicken stock to cover the shanks around ¾ of the way. 

  11. Taste the cooking liquid and adjust with salt and pepper if needed.

  12. Cover and braise in the oven until the meat is fork tender. Around 3 to 4 hours.

  13. Remove from the oven once for tender, cover and set aside while you make the polenta and gremolata.

For the Polenta

  1. In a pot combine the water with the polenta and mix until smooth.

  2. Cook over medium heat, while stirring constantly until the polenta is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

  3. Pour in the milk and stir to combine. Cook while stirring often, until the polenta is tender. This will take about 25 minutes.

  4. Mix in the butter and mascarpone. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

  5. Remove from the heat and fold in the Parmesan cheese.

  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste

For the Gremolata

  1. Combine all of the ingredients and stir until combined.

  2. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Add more olive oil as needed.


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Meet Larry White

Chef Larry White

Hey folks, I'm Larry. The recipes you'll find here are inspired by my years as a chef, travels as a hunter, and being a father. I cook from these experiences, so my food ranges anywhere from fun and creative to traditional and to what somewhat family style comfort food.     

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