Use, if possible, a heavy copper pan of just a size to hold the shanks at their ease. It should have a tight-fitting lid. Brown the shanks, salted, lightly in the oil, toss in the garlic, and cook over very low heat, covered, turning them occasionally, for about 1½ hours, or longer to be very tender. An asbestos pad may be necessary to disperse the heat—the shanks should only very gently stew in their own juices. In heavy copper their natural juices will hold for about 1 hour—in other metals, for a much shorter time. When all liquid has disappeared and they begin to sizzle in fat, add a spoonful of water from time to time so that a film of liquid remains always in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the herbs after about an hour’s time.
As the meat approaches the desired tenderness, stop moistening with water so that all the liquid evaporates. When the meat begins again to sizzle in pure fat, remove it to a plate, pour off the fat, de-glaze the pan with the white wine, scraping and stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve all caramelized adherences, put the juice and garlic through a sieve to rid them of the garlic hulls, return to the pan, reduce the liquid to the staccato bubbling stage, and return the meat to the pan—there should be only enough sauce to just coat the pieces. Grind over pepper to taste.
Copyright © 1974 by Richard Olney. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.