Mike just celebrated his company’s second birthday this year. In fact, we just realized that the official birthday of Drogue Medical is the same day as our (upcoming) wedding day: October 2. Although Drogue just turned two, we held the company’s first annual holiday party on Friday.
I decided that I wanted to make one of Mike’s very favorite dishes, osso bucco. This is no small feat especially given that I had never made it on my own before. And, instead of making traditional osso bucco out of veal shanks, we decided to serve pork shanks. This was inspired by a meal we enjoyed at Ristorante Arivederci, while visiting with my sister and bro-in-law in San Diego. There were many firsts for me on this trip: first time I had osso bucco with pork shank, first time visiting my sister since she moved to L.A., first time staying at the Del Coronado. And the first – and last – time I bought a wedding dress!
After diligently scouring all of my cookbooks and even looking through one of my mother’s cook books from Italy, the osso bucco recipe that I decided to use (and modify) was from Epicurious.
But rather than trying to make osso bucco for the first time at Drogue’s first holiday party, I decided to practice – first on girlfriends, then on Mom.
And after all of that practice, I’ve decided that the key to this dish is to cook it long enough. The magic number for attempt number three? Seven hours. That’s right, I cooked it for three hours on Thursday night and four hours on Friday. Thank goodness for delayed start on my oven.
There were three major differences between what I cooked and what the recipe called for. I used turnip roots in addition to the other veggies, inspired by another version of the recipe that I’d uncovered in my research. I also didn’t use the gremmolata – for no other reason than I just didn’t want to. And lastly, I preferred to keep some of the veggies rather than completely discard them once the dish was cooked. I served them in a mash form (pureed) on top of and around the shank. So, here’s my recipe for what Mike calls Porko Bucco.
Adapted from Epicurious.com
8 to 10 large 2 1/2-inch-thick pork shanks, each patted dry and tied securely with kitchen string to keep the meat attached to the bone
All-purpose flour for dredging the veal shanks
7 tbs. unsalted butter (plus additional if necessary)
3 tbs. olive oil (plus additional if necessary)
1 1/2 c. dry white wine
1 1/2 c. finely chopped onion (use a food processor to almost puree)
3/4 c. finely chopped carrots (use a food processor to almost puree)
3/4 c. finely chopped celery (use a food processor to almost puree)
4 turnip roots, peeled and finely chopped (use a food processor to almost puree)
1 tsp. minced garlic
3 to 4 c. chicken or beef broth
1 1/2 c. peeled, seeded, and chopped tomato or 1 1/2 cups drained canned plum tomatoes, chopped
1 cheesecloth bag containing 6 fresh parsley sprigs, 4 fresh thyme sprigs, and 1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt
Season the veal shanks with salt and pepper and dredge them in the flour, shaking off the excess. In a heavy skillet heat 3 tablespoons of the butter and 3 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat until the foam subsides. In the butter, brown the pork shanks in batches, adding some of the additional butter and oil as necessary and transferring the shanks as they are browned to a platter. Add the wine to the skillet, boil the mixture, scraping up the brown bits clinging to the bottom and sides of the skillet, until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, and reserve the wine mixture in a small bowl.
In a flameproof casserole just large enough to hold the veal shanks cook in one layer the pureed onion, carrots, celery, garlic and turnips in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened. Add the pork shanks with any juices that have accumulated on the platter, the reserved wine mixture, and enough of the broth to almost cover the shanks (about 1/2-3/4). Spread the tomatoes over the shanks, add the cheesecloth bag, the salt, and pepper to taste, and bring the liquid to a simmer over moderately high heat. Braise the mixture, covered, in the middle of a preheated 325°F. oven for 7 hours, or until the pork is tender. Transfer the shanks with a slotted spoon to an ovenproof serving dish, discard the strings, and keep the shanks warm. Strain the pan juices into a saucepan, pressing hard on the solids to squeeze any liquid from them, and skim the fat. Boil the juices for 15 minutes, or until they are reduced to about 3 cups, baste the shanks with some of the reduced juices, and bake them, basting them 3 or 4 times with some of the remaining juices, for 10 minutes more, or until they are glazed.
I make a risotto with shallots and serve it with a red wine/mushroom reduction sauce. Then I place the shanks on top of the risotto and top it off with the basting sauce and mashed/pureed veggie mix which makes for a grand presentation. Served with a nice arugula salad – this meal is divine!