Veal shanks, with bone and marrow, braised in white wine and tomatoes.
This classic Italian recipe, aptly named «bone with a hole», includes «gremolata» [pr. greh-moh-LAH-tah], a garnish consisting of minced parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. The garnish adds a fresh, sprightly flavour to the dish.
Choose meaty, cross-cut veal shanks, about 3 cm thick, preferably from milk-fed veal if it is available.
Two skillets are needed if cooking more than 4 shanks.
Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic. Set aside. Pat the shanks dry. Make a few shallow cuts around the outside edge to avoid curling during cooking. (If you wish, you may tie each piece with a string around the outer circumference to keep it together better during cooking). Dredge the shanks in the flour shaking off any excess.
Heat the butter and oil in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown the shanks on all sides, about 10 min, then transfer them to a plate.
Add the onion and garlic to the skillet, then sauté
2-3 min until they become translucent. Deglaze
with the wine while scraping up any brown bits using a wooden spoon. Let the liquid evaporate until the mixture is almost dry. Add the diced tomatoes, cook 5 min with occasional stirring, then put the veal shanks back into the skillet. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and cook over low heat until the meat is very tender and falls off the bone, about 1 h 40 min or longer, turning the shanks once. In order to keep the environment moist, occasionally add a few tablespoons of warm broth. (Heat the broth in a small saucepan on the stove or in a microwave oven and keep it warm while cooking the shanks). Adjust the seasoning.
When almost ready to serve, prepare the gremolata: Finely chop the parsley, mince the garlic, and grate the zest. Put them in a small bowl, then mix well. Sprinkle the gremolata on top of the shanks, then serve.
Veal shanks can be braised 2 days ahead and reheated for about 30 min in a 175ºC/350ºF oven, while cooking the Risotto Milanese, which is traditionally served with this dish.
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