Osso buco is Italian for "bone with a hole," a reference to the marrow hole at the center of a cross-cut shank (part of the leg between the knee and the ankle). I got a nice large eland osso buco from Exotic Meat Market and based on my earlier experiences with cooking eland, a large African antelope, I knew it would be very lean and very tough if I did not cook it right. Since I was already dealing with a small marrow bone in the eland, I decided to add some more beef marrow bones to provide additional fat and flavor. We had four marrow bone sections in the freezer which were perfect. Then to coax all of that flavor out of the bones and break down and soften up the eland shank, I decided to use a crockpot and cook it on low for about 12 hours.
|Beautiful eland osso buco.|
|Beef marrow bones|
To add some texture and flavor, I put in: a package of Zatarain's New Orleans Style Dirty Rice Mix; a 10.5 oz. can of Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic and a can full of water; a 12 oz. can of beef broth; about six Anaheim chiles and 2 jalapeno peppers, grilled, de-seeded, then diced; two raw poblano peppers, de-seeded and diced; a small carton of mini portabello mushrooms, each quartered; some fingerling potatoes cut into small sections; and a head of garlic, broken down into cloves. Then I liberally sprinkled on some Zatarain's Creole Seasoning.
|The crockpot before cooking.|
After 12 hours in the crockpot the marrow in the bones had mostly dissolved and the flavor had migrated throughout the pot. I loved fishing what remaining marrow I could out of the bones and relished eating it with a spoon of the meaty broth. The eland fell apart at the touch of a fork and quickly pieces of it were spread throughout the stew. Eland is a beautiful dark red meat and it reminded me of a beef roast. The mushroom pieces contracted into nice, plump balls of moisture; the potato slices were moist, yet still had texture; the poblano chiles were plump; and the garlic cloves were wonderful additions that melted in the mouth. The rice added a nice, spicy, thickness.
|The crockpot after 12 hours of cooking.|
|The wonderful beef marrow bones.|
|A nice mixture of eland, rice, peppers, mushrooms and potatoes.|
I'm learning that the crockpot is a wonderful way of cooking lean wild game, particularly larger cuts.