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Dec 29, 2011 04:37 PM

Favorite way with pork shanks?

Just picked up some from the butcher's because, well, they were pretty and sounded fun. Not sure I've ever cooked them before and so am opening the floor for any recs. At the moment am leaning toward a sear followed by a 3- or 4-hour braise in a cozy pot with tomatoes and beer or hard cider and fresh rosemary and garlic, maybe with some complementary spices.

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  1. Maloney & Porcelli's Crackling Pork Shank was very memorable...I believe they slowly braised in oil before crisping the skin. I also like the Chinese versions of Red, Brown and Soy Sauce braised in aromatics .

    3 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      Thanks! Will look into that recipe, which is making consider a confit.

      1. re: eight_inch_pestle

        In a way, but I do not know if the meat is generously salted like they would do if it was meant to preserve....I guess it's made like duck confit...but I've never tried to make either.

        1. re: fourunder

          Sorry, yeah, I have a habit of referring to any meat gently poached in its own fat (or other rendered animal fat) as "confit"---whether or not it's pre-salted or later stored in the fat. I just meant that your phrase "slowly braised in oil" got me thinking along those lines.

    2. Well, I was just home in the Midwest w/ my German (off-the-boat) parents, and we simmered the pig shanks with bay leaves, a few allspice, a few cloves, some juniper berries, lotta chopped onion; then de-fatted it, chopped it, and added some acid (vinegar,etc.); let it set up in its gelatin. Quite wonderful, if you like this kind of thing. I emphatically do.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Spot

        My Italian friend showed me an almost exact method. He called it gelatina, and yes, delicious and wonderful!
        I have since added a step of curing the hocks/feet before cooking.

        You could also use the shanks in place of beef in an osso buco recipe.

        1. re: porker

          Spot, I love the flavor pairings.

          Both spot and porker, how did you serve it once it set up in its gelatin, and was that a small bite or dinner?

          1. re: eight_inch_pestle

            I'd throw in some pork tongues (but not necessary) with the boil and peel&chop when removing the meet from the hocks/feet. Into a plastic container and top up with strained cooking liquid (the addition of vinegar really livens it up). To room temp, then fridge.
            Next day start slicing & eating as small bites (on its own or with crackers).
            You could do the same with a pigs head and make "headcheese".
            You can be lean (just meat) or evil (including tendon and skin). I lean towards the evil, but then, I really like tendon.
            You can blanch various vegetables (think asparagus or carrot), chop, and add to the gelatina.
            You can add paprika and a pinch of cayenne to give it a Hungarian flair and color.

            1. re: eight_inch_pestle

              Sliced, with buttered rye bread and hot mustard. Oh, and a nice pilsner.

        2. I would make Chinese Dong Po Pork.

          While it is traditionally made with pork belly, it works just as well with shank.

          1. generally i wing it, so no recipe, but often use beer and orange juice as the liquid. plenty of aromatics, including bay, thyme, garlic. will sear the meat well, remove from pan then brown onions and carrots. add everything back to pot along with liquids and braise. 3-4 hours may not be enough, unless your piece is quite small. i've had them take 6 hours to get to the falling apart consistency we like.

            i chill everything overnight, skim the fat, then reduce the liquid for sauce.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hotoynoodle

              i make mine much the same way, but usually use wine for the braise. Kinda like osso bucco.

            2. Thanks for all the tips, folks. I'll definitely refer back to these suggestions next time.

              Ended up braising them in a low oven with a few glugs of red wine, about a head's worth of smashed garlic cloves, a handful of dried porcini, a bunch of fresh rosemary, some star anise, a bit of urfa, and a cinnamon stick. Was a little pressed for time so skipped the browning. Added about a pound of shoulder a little while later. Separated the meat from the liquid and refrigerated overnight before skimming the fat.

              Ended up making a simple rough pasta dish with homemade fettuccine left good and thick. Shredded some of the meat, and left other pieces in good-sized chunks. Strained and reduced the liquid with a splash of fresh wine, cremini, dried figs, and a bit more spice. Gently reheated the meat in the sauce and tossed in the finished pasta with a bit of the pasta cooking water, a good grating of Parmesan, and plenty of cracked black pepper. Got the thumbs up from the GF.