Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pork-o-Buco or Osso-Buco, depending on your budget...

I'm whipping up a terrific recipe for a dinner party tonight-- a porky version of Osso Buco, which I tried out first a couple of weeks ago, to A + reviews.  Mummy sent me the recipe from a website called "The Reluctant Gourmet", which seems to have all sorts of promising recommendations. To be further explored!

There's really no reason this recipe can't be made with veal instead of pork if that's your preference, I'm motivated purely by the economy of making it "porko-buco" style instead of the traditional veal version. (Pork shank, cut into 2.5" thick slices is about 1/3 of the price of veal shank prepared for osso buco. Multiply that by 6 people, and it adds up to a considerable savings, which can then be put toward the wine budget!!) Either way, the recipe is a cinch, and well worth a little advanced planning. *To Be Noted: Not all grocery stores have pork shank sliced and ready-to-go on their shelves, so you might want to go the day before you prepare this (or better yet, call ahead!) You want them to slice the shank width-wise, so you get 2- 2.5" thick discs from each shank bone, depending on the size of the shank. Take a look at the picture above to get a more clear idea of what you're shopping for...

Pork Osso Buco Recipe
Prep Time: .5 hrCook Time: 2.5 hrsTotal Time: 3 hrsServings: 4
  • 1-tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 pork shanks
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ cup carrots, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic
  • 3 anchovy fillets or 3 teaspoons anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1-cup chicken stock (have some on reserve in case you need a little more)
  • One 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • Bouquet Garni (peel of 1 lemon, ¼ cup parsley sprigs, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf)

Preheat your oven to 325º F. While the oven is heating up, prep your ingredients and then season the shanks with a little salt and pepper.
Once seasoned, heat the oil and brown the shanks in a large, ovenproof casserole pan or roasting pan. You can always brown them in a smaller fry pan, two at a time, and then transfer them to a bigger pan, ideally a dutch oven if you've got one...
When the shanks are browned, remove them and add the vegetables to the pan. Sauté the vegetables for just a few minutes until they start to brown a little. They will continue to cook with the meat while braising. If the vegetables appear dry, add a touch more olive oil. You can add the anchovy at this point if you are using it.
Add the wine to deglaze the pan of all the brown bits of meat and vegetables that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan. Let the wine cook down until most of it is cooked off. Add the chicken stock and diced tomato (with juice) and bring to a boil.
As soon as you come to a boil, turn off the heat, add the pork shanks and Bouquet Garni, cover with a tight fitting lid and transfer to the oven. Let this cook for about 2 hours. When the meat is tender and falling off the bone, it's done.
The Sauce:
When the meat is done, carefully remove the shanks from the pot trying not to let all the meat fall off the bone. Also remove and discard the Bouquet Garni. Using a hand blender if you have one, puree the sauce until smooth. If you don't have one, use your regular blender or food processor. You can also use a food mill too if you have one.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Served With...
Polenta! Roasted Veggies! You could also (deliciously) serve this over mashed potatoes or pasta depending on your audience... I've opted for parmesan-y polenta, french green beans, and a starter salad of roasted parsnips and kale. Yum! This is an inexpensive, as good as it gets meal for this time of year. I highly recommend you give it a try.

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