Venison Shank Barszcz

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Venison Shank Barszcz

Barszcz is the Polish equivalent of borscht, an Eastern European beet soup. It is often served without meat at Christmas time and will usually be accompanied by kapuśniaczki (aka paszteciki), which are meat or mushroom hand pies. I made mine with venison shanks, which made the beet broth unbelievably rich and tasty (you could use lamb instead). A bowl of this will warm you up from the inside out after a day spent out in the cold!
Servings 4
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs 30 mins


  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 0.5-1 kg venison or lamb shank, whole or cut osso buco style
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 beets, peeled and grated
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 turnip, parsnip, or small celeriac, peeled and grated
  • 3 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 l venison, beef, or lamb stock


  • Preheat oven to 275°F (140°C, gas mark 1).
  • In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat. Season the venison shanks generously with salt and pepper, then add them to the pot to sear. Sear the shanks, turning them so all sides get cooked, until very brown. Remove from pot.
  • Add all of the vegetables except for 1 garlic clove, and sauté until they are softened, about 6-8 minutes. Pour in the stock and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the shanks back in, cover, and put in the oven for 4 hours, or until the shanks are tender and the meat falls off of the bone.
  • Remove the shanks and shred the meat. Discard the bones. Strain the broth through a sieve or a colander lined with cheese cloth and discard the solids. At this point you can attempt to skim off the fat with a spoon, or you can put the broth in the fridge for 2-24 hours, then peel off the fat that solidifies on the surface.
  • Warm the broth back up if necessary, and add in the shredded meat. Taste for seasoning and add any salt or pepper you feel is necessary. If you’d like it a little punchier, crush the last garlic clove into paste and stir it into the soup. Enjoy!
Course: entree
Cuisine: European

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