Meaty veal shanks turn meltingly tender when braised slowly in wine and vegetables. Plus they each hold a delectable nugget of marrow in the hollow bone. Serve the shanks over buttered egg noodles or fettuccine and be sure to include a tiny spoon for scooping out the marrow. This is comfort food at its best!
- 4 meaty, 2- to 3-inch-thick pieces veal shank (12 to 14 ounces each)
- 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 1/2 cups dry red or white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish (optional)
- Gremolata (optional)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
If not already done by butcher, tie a single strand of kitchen twine around the meat to hold it to the bone during cooking.
Coat the shanks with the flour and shake off the excess.
In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or casserole (with a lid) large enough to hold meat in a single layer, heat the butter and oil over medium heat.
Brown the shanks on tops and bottoms for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
Remove the shanks to a plate.
Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often, or until onion is softened.
Add the wine, salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary. Bring to a gentle boil, scraping up browned bits on the bottom of the casserole.
Remove from the heat and arrange the meat in a single layer, cut-side up, in the casserole. Spoon a little of the liquid over the top of the meat.
Cover (if the lid does not cover tightly, cover first with foil, then with lid) and bake for 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender.
Optional: While the shanks are cooking, make the gremolata. Mix the parsley, lemon peel, and garlic in a small bowl.
Remove the pot from the oven and carefully lift the shanks from the cooking liquid to serving platter. Skim and discard the fat from the liquid, then spoon the cooking liquid around shanks.
Sprinkle the gremolata over the shanks. Insert rosemary sprigs in the marrow of each shank if desired, and serve.
- The braised veal shanks can be refrigerated in their sauce overnight. Cover and reheat in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes, or until warmed through.
- The pot that you use for braising should be a material that will conduct heat evenly and efficiently to prevent scorching. An enameled cast-iron pot with a tight-fitting lid is a good choice.
- Cover the pot with a piece of wax paper or parchment paper before setting the lid in place. This will reduce the headspace in the pot and will help to concentrate the flavors of the sauce.