Thursday, August 12, 2010
Braised Pork Shanks with Wilted Chard and a Pork Jus
In the south pork has been a very big part of cooking since the Spanish brought pigs to Florida in the 1500's. Domesticated pigs have remained ever since. Feral pigs or the modern day razorbacks are the descendants of those first pigs brought here by Hernando de Soto.
This cut, with its deep flavor, can be braised whole or cut into cross sections for a less-expensive alternative to veal osso buco.
Pork hocks are the lower portion of the shank, traditionally used in Eastern European and American Southern cooking. Hocks lend themselves to numerous comfort-foods. Pork hocks make a tasty flavoring for soups, bean dishes, and stocks. If you have never eaten a pork shank you are in for a treat. Cooked Low and slow they are fall off the bone tender with amazing flavor. The recipe below is simple and delicious, so enjoy this cheap cut of meat, once you try it you will eat it more often. Enjoy........
4 pork shanks weighing about 8-10 ounces each
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 cups white wine
2 cups beef or pork stock
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 large bunch of swiss chard, cleaned and rough chopped
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In a large dutch oven heat olive oil over medium heat. Season pork shanks generously with salt and pepper and brown in hot olive oil, 2 at a time, on all sides until a deep golden brown. Remove from dutch oven and reserve. When shanks are browned add onion, celery and carrots to pot and cook vegetables until nicely browned and caramelized. Add white wine and stock to pot scraping any browned bits off the bottom of your pan (called deglazing). Add fresh herbs to pot and return pork shanks nestling them among the vegetables so they are covered with stock. Replace lid, place in preheated oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Check for tenderness. If shanks are not super tender place back in oven and cook until fork tender probably another 1/2 hour of so. When shanks are done remove to a platter and cover with foil.
Strain vegetables and cooking liquid from pot and reserving stock and discarding the rest. Skim fat from reserved stock and return to dutch oven. Bring stock to a boil and reduce by a third.
Add chopped swiss chard to pot and wilt, this will take 3-4 minutes. When chard is wilted season with salt and pepper.
In a large soup bowl place a nest of wilted chard in bottom. Place a pork shank on top of chard and ladle some pork jus on top of shank and in the bowl. Serve at once.