Venison Curry

Sunday night, I sent out a plea on Facebook.

“I don’t know what to post tomorrow – Venison Curry or Bang-Bang Shrimp. Help!”

The response was overwhelmingly in favor of the shrimp, which is why I posted it yesterday.  However, about 1/3 of the commenters wanted the curry, and I’m more than happy to oblige today.

Because this was really, really delicious.  The three of us devoured it, leaving very little in the way of leftovers.  Kind of disappointing, actually.

This is a take on a Massaman curry, a Thai dish with Muslim origins.  It’s most often made with beef, but versions made with lamb, chicken, duck and tofu are not uncommon.  I made mine with pressure-cooked deer shanks, after reading a recipe using venison on Hank Shaw’s blog.

Thanks to the wonder that is the pressure cooker, this came together in just a little over an hour and it’s really pretty simple:  pressure cook the venison shanks (oxtail might be a good choice, too) while preparing the vegetables, then shred the meat from the shanks and add them to the curry.  Boom – done.

We might want to note that due to the additions of the peas, which I just loved, this is not paleo.  You can certainly leave them out if you wish, but I’ve been craving spring peas lately (actually, I’ve been craving spring anything lately) and I really don’t think a few once in a blue moon are going to throw my health into some sort of downward spiral.  They certainly don’t have an immediate affect on my well-being the way gluten, MSG or aspartame do.

In fact, if you leave out the peas and switch out the fingerlings for sweet potatoes, this will not only be paleo, but Whole30 compliant.

Note:  I used a canned curry paste that, aside from a tiny amount of added sugar, is pretty clean.  If you want to make your own, Hank’s recipe contains the ingredients and instructions for what looks like a really dynamite homemade curry paste that contains no added sugar or soy.

Edited to add: Apparently peas, despite being a legume, get the “paleo pass” along with white potatoes and white rice.  This makes me…quite happy, actually.

Venison Curry - a sumptuous Thai-style curry that's rich in flavor and simple to make.

Venison Curry
Serves: 6
  • 3 lbs venison shanks
  • 2 tablespoons lard or other fat suitable for frying
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 quart beef stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon lard or ghee
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut in half
  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 ounces)
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 tablespoons yellow curry paste, or to taste
  • 1 cup frozen spring peas, thawed
  1. Melt the 2 tablespoons of lard over high heat in the pressure cooker. Sprinkle the shanks liberally with salt and pepper, then brown in the fat. Add the beef stock to the browned venison.
  2. Lock the lid of the pressure cooker in place and increase the heat to high until the cooker reaches full pressure (15 psi). Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 55 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the pressure to decrease naturally.
  3. While the shanks are cooking, heat the tablespoon of lard or ghee in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and cook the onions, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, coconut milk, fish sauce, cinnamon and chicken stock; stir in the curry paste. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Once the venison shanks are done, carefully remove them from the pressure cooker and shred the meat from the bones with a fork. Stir the venison and thawed peas into the potato mixture and simmer for an additional 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 455 calories, 24.7g total fat, 27.7mg cholesterol, 1452.5mg sodium, 894.6mg potassium, 26.6g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 5.7g sugar, 33.7g protein

6 thoughts on “Venison Curry”

  1. This looks super yummy. I bought a ton of mae ploy curry pastes in the plastic tubs. None of them have any added sugar in them, and their quality is great! I ordered some off amazon because our local international grocer didn’t carry all the varieties. I love peas too…from what I’ve gathered they’re considered pretty much okay in the paleosphere anyway. I also LOVE sugar snap peas when I’m doing stir fries or curries.

    1. Meaghan, thank you for the tip on the mae ploy curry pastes; I’m going to order some from Amazon today. And thanks for the 411 on peas, as well – I’ve confirmed it with Patty at Chowstalker. Hooray for paleo peas!

    1. Michele, I thought this would be right up your alley! We love curries, too, and this was the first time I’d done a Massaman curry. I wasn’t sure how it would go with potatoes, but I have to say I was more than pleasantly surprised. I’m glad I decided to throw the peas in it as well – just delicious.

  2. I’m so boring, but OF COURSE, this is out of the world delicious!!!!

    I think I love deer more than bacon… 🙁

    But, you know what I love? That you always tell us when it “isn’t something”: paleo, low carb, nut free, low calorie, Whole 30, gluten or grain free, etc. It’s hard enough to find folks who list ingredients or tag them “as something” but you warn us if it might affect our sensitivities. I married a smart woman.

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