Slow-braised venison shanks
Serves 4
■ 4 roe or 8 muntjac shanks
■ 100ml (31⁄2fl oz) duck fat or olive oil
■ 2 carrots
■ 1 onion
■ 2 sticks celery
■ 4 cloves garlic
■ 2 rashers smoked bacon
■ 2 bay leaves
■ 1 bunch thyme
■ 1 bottle red wine

Use a big old casserole. Brown the shanks well in the duck fat or oil until golden. Roughly chop the vegetables except the garlic, and add to the shanks. Throw in the unpeeled garlic, bacon and the herbs. Pour over enough red wine to cover and put a lid on. Cook in a 140°C (275°F/Gas Mark 1) oven for four hours, then remove and allow to cool a little. Lift out the shanks and reserve. Sieve the cooking liquor into another pan and reduce it until it is thick and rich. Serve in a bowl with puy lentils, parsley mash and maybe some butternut squash purée. Pour the awesome gravy all over it.

For this recipe you could either use muntjac or a young roe deer; the cooking times will be roughly the same. The meat is very different, however, so it is up to personal choice or availability. Personally, I would go for the muntjac, which has amazingly dense and delicious meat, over the roe, which is a bit stronger in flavour and softer in texture. But the muntjac is a terrible bugger to skin.