Beauty of the braise. Low and slow. The long braise at low heat melts tough meat into tasty tender body warming deliciousness. This is taking something less than special and making it extra special. It teaches the benefits of concentrating flavors. You can use beef or pork. (My recipe is with beef)
If you are having company use the more traditional lamb shanks. Cook it in an enamel cast iron pot. Simmer slowly on a low burner. Leave the lid cracked just a bit. See you in a few hours. Make some rice. Season a can of black beans and heat. Sound good?
Serves 4 Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
2 lbs cross-cut beef shanks
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced fennel
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef stock
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup finely, chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Zest from 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pat the beef shanks dry with paper towel. Season the shanks with a generous amount of salt and pepper, then dust with flour. Tie kitchen twine around each of the shanks to ensure they hold together during cooking. In a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or braiser, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shanks and sear on both sides until well browned. Remove from pot and set aside.
Add carrot, fennel, onion and garlic to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent and soft. Stir in tomato paste, and continue cooking for 1 minute. Stir in wine, gently scraping the pot to release any browned bits clinging to the bottom.
Nestle the reserved shanks and bay leaf into the vegetables, and pour beef stock overtop.Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for about 2 hours, or until the shanks are tender and falling off the bone. Check periodically to make sure the shanks are covered ¾ of the way up with braising liquid, topping up with water if the liquid level gets too low.
Meanwhile, prepare the gremolata by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Once shanks are ready, remove and transfer to a serving platter, leaving the braising liquid in the pot. Snip off kitchen twine from the shanks, and discard.
Increase the heat to medium-high, and bring the braising liquid to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until reduced to a thick, glossy sauce. Discard the bay leaves. Taste to check the seasoning, and adjust as needed with salt and pepper. Serve shanks with the reduced braising liquid and a sprinkling of gremolata. Yum Yum!