Written by Chef Tom Brooks, Food & Beverage Director, The Essex Resort & Spa

Normally, spring is considered the season of change and new beginnings. But here The Essex, it seems as though autumn has taken spring’s place. Not only have we just unveiled our new FEAST cooking class series, we’ve also made some exciting changes to our restaurants. Butler’s Restaurant is now Butler’s Farm, and it features a chalkboard menu that we update weekly. It couples all the freshest and best ingredients of Vermont with classic culinary techniques, reflecting our region and our passion for food.

One of the most popular items on the menu so far is our Hollandeer Farms venison ossobuco, which we serve with rosemary gremolata atop creamy polenta, with sautéed garden-fresh tricolor baby carrots.

It may be an Italian dish, but you can’t help but taste pure Vermont when you sink your teeth in.


Venison Ossobuco
4 medium-sized deer shanks, cut 1.5” thick
1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
Olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup Côtes du Rhône wine
3 cups veal stock
2 bay leaves
10 tricolor baby carrots, peeled

Dredge each venison shank in seasoned flour. In a heavy gauge Dutch oven, pan-sear venison shanks on both sides until slightly browned and crispy. Remove from pan. Sauté onions, celery and carrots. Deglaze pan with wine to get all the good tid-bits off the bottom of the pan. Place shanks back in pan, add the veal stock (make sure liquid is ¾ to the top of the shanks).  Add bay leaves and simmer until meat is very tender and almost falls off the bone (approximately one hour). Remove the shanks from the pan, strain the liquid, and push all the veggies through a sieve. Put shanks back in pan with sauce and simmer.  At this point you can either add your baby carrots to the ossobuco, or sauté them in butter.

2 rosemary sprigs, cleaned and minced
½ bunch flat parsley, minced
4 lemons, zested
1 cup panko bread crumbs
3 cloves garlic, minced
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and sprinkle over top of ossobuco.

2 cups white polenta
3 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and white pepper
Bring water to boil. With your hand, sprinkle the polenta into water while stirring. Bring the heat down until all the polenta is incorporated into the water.  Stir in heavy cream and serve in bowl.

Spoon polenta into shallow bowl.  Place shank on top. Cover with sauce and carrots. Garnish with gremolata.