Venison shanks with baby beets, chestnuts and blueberries

Courtesy of chef Kyle, the Head Chef, La Petite Ferme in Franschhoek.


  • 150g carrots
  • 150g celery
  • 100g leeks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 x venison shanks (Impala or springbok, however, kudu is preferred for its flavourful quality)
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 l dark chicken or venison stock
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tsp grain mustard
  • 12 baby beetroots (candy beets work the best for their bright colours)
  • 4 leaves bok choy ( grilled for 30 seconds per side)
  • 150g cooked chestnuts
  • 100g blueberries
  • 35g butter
  • 50g duck fat (adds a distinctive flavour to the shanks)


  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Cut the carrots, celery and leeks into 1cm cubes and roughly chop the garlic. Season the shanks and fry in a little duck fat in a frying pan to brown evenly all over. Set the shanks in an ovenproof dish that has a lid; a cast iron pot is ideal.
  2. Fry all the diced vegetables in the frying pan until brown. Add the tomato purée and cook for another 5-8 minutes, then add the stock and sage.
  3. Cover the shanks with the stock and diced vegetables. Bring to the boil then bake in the oven for 1.5 – 2 hours or until meat is tender. Remove the shanks from the liquid, keep warm and covered, so they do not dry out.
  4. Decant the stock into a pan, passing it through a fine strainer to remove the diced vegetables – keep them warm with the shanks. Bring the stock to boil, stir in the mustard and reduce by half. Drop the baby beetroots into cold water and bring to the boil until cooked, then refresh and peel. Sauté the chestnuts in 25g butter. Reheat the baby beetroots by plunging into boiling water, then drain and toss in 10g melted butter.

    Plating: lay the bok choy down on the plate first. Rest the venison shank on the bed of leaves and place baby beets around it.  Pour the jus over the shank and then drop chestnuts over the top followed by blueberries.  Complete the experience by pairing the dish with La Petite Ferme’s Merlot 2017