Saturday, April 9, 2011

Braised Pork Shank

Recently I discovered a local treasure - Henry's Meat Market. After years of trying to cajole and coax the grocery store meat people to get me various cuts of meat, I can now sit back and relax. These people know their meat, and didn't mind getting me some fresh pork shanks to play with. I am happily no longer stuck with "the most popular selections". So before the warm weather hits and I get off my braising kick, I decided to try pork shanks. They aren't expensive, but take some low and slow cooking in liquid. The result is fantastic.

Braised Pork Shanks
3 pork shanks (sliced into 2 inch slices)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced into chunks
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups pork broth (or chicken)
4 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 325 F. In a large heavy pot, heat oil and brown shanks - two or three at a time on all sides. Remove from heat. Saute carrots, onions and celery until softened and just beginning to caramelize. Add wine to pot and deglaze all the cooked bits from the bottom of the pan into the liquid. Add broth and seasonings. Cover pot and place in oven for about three to three and one half hours. When shanks are fork tender, remove from pot and strain broth into a container for chilling. Return shanks and veggies to the pot and return to oven with the heat turned off. The residual heat of the oven will continue to cook the pork gently. Chill broth until you can remove the fat from the surface. (If you don't mind the extra fat, you can skip all of this and just thicken the broth and return it to the pot). If not, take the chilled de-fatted broth and reheat, adding the cornstarch and water mixture until just thick. Add the broth back into the pot and season to taste with salt or pepper. Serve shanks over veggies and drizzled with broth with a side of rice or barley grits.  This is a dish you would allow time for the meat to slowly cook, so be sure to start in the late morning on a weekend. Once it's in the oven it's a matter of letting the slow heat tenderize the meat. Print This Recipe


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