Slow Cooker Venison Shanks with Cannellini Beans

I think the butcher's must have been clearing out their fridges in the build up to Christmas, as I picked up some cheap steaks, and venison shanks.

The word 'shanks' makes me think of lamb shanks, and it is thus that I have treated them.  I only have 4 shanks for five of us so have added cannellini beans to bulk up the dish.  They are still blipping away in the slow cooker, but I imagine I'll serve them with mashed potato and steamed greens (which the kids will pull faces at and won't eat, but at least some beans will have slipped into them unnoticed).

Serves 4
4 lamb or venison shanks
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 glass of red wine
1 carton of passata or a tin of chopped tomatoes
1 beef stock cube
1 glass of hot water
2 bay leaves
8-10 juniper berries (if using venison)

Brown the lamb shanks in a high sided frying pan in the olive oil.  Once browned, place in the warming slow cooker.  Fry the onions in the same pan until they begin to brown.  Add the garlic, juniper berries, bay leaves, and crumbled stock cube and stir around then add the glass of wine and bring to the boil.  Once the wine is boiling, scrape any meat off the bottom of the pan and pour this over the shanks in the slow cooker.  Add the passata to the frying pan and heat up until steaming.  Add this to the slow cooker and top up with boiling water so that the shanks are just about covered in liquid.  Stir best you can then put the lid on and cook on High for 6-8 hours or the meat is falling off the bone.