Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Braised pork shank

I have a lot more time to cook now that the bulk of my rotations are over and residency interviews are done. So we're more quickly going through the half pig we split with Josh and Eve.

We have had 2 pork shanks in our freezer for months. Last Sunday I braised one of them.



I did a straightforward braise. Onions, carrots, celery, peppercorns, dried herbs de provence, fresh rosemary and thyme, bay leaf, crushed garlic cloves, cup of dry vermouth, and an old pint of frozen chicken stock from my mom. Then water so that there was a reasonable volume to work with. I didn't bother browning the meat, because I wanted a mellower broth. Two-and-a-half hours over low heat then threw away the spent vegetables. I used my handy Oxo fat separator to degrease, did several passes with a chinoise, reduced the broth about 1/3, and did a final pass through washed cheesecloth.

For vegetables, I boiled turnips, carrots, and baby yukon gold potatoes in very salty water and braised some leftover shallots in butter and vermouth.

Something seemed to be missing, though. I looked to the Silver Spoon for guidance and was inspired by the addition of shredded cabbage to their pork shank recipe. I decided to cook wedges of cabbage in the broth, then assembled the dish.

Mabel thought it was a bit understated. That was exactly what I was going for. I like pork shank. It tastes porky, but it's still mild. And I was happy to have a simple winter dish that didn't rely on bacon or smokiness or lots of fat for flavor (not that there's anything wrong with those flavors).

We skipped dessert because we figured that we'd have an extra drink at the Blue Note later that night. We saw the Bill Frisell, Ron Carter, and Paul Motian trio.

I enjoyed it. Mabel said that they were lulling her to sleep. That doesn't seem to be a bad way to end a Sunday evening.

Blue Note Jazz Club
131 West 3rd St (near 6th Ave)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 475-8592

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