Braised Veal Shanks with Chanterelles, Carrots, Chestnuts, and Lardons

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

My daughter, Leila, who grew up in Morocco and is now a wine consultant, likes to cook tagines and other slow-simmered dishes from her childhood. But after a tasting trip to France, she became interested in French farmhouse dishes. I told her about a delicious dish of veal shanks smothered in carrots, chestnuts, and chanterelles.

Unfortunately, the dish didn't sound very “farmhouse” to her, and she doesn't think that veal is flavorful—or politically correct. My advice was to dispense with both the ethical and the flavor issues by buying grass-fed veal, which is tastier than the grain-fed kind. I told her that the dish was simpler than it sounded and that it would go wonderfully with her French wines.

When she prepared it for a dinner party, she found that I was right. “Plus we had a great time coaxing out the marrow—with bamboo skewers, espresso spoons, and our fingers,” she said. “We even decided to name the dish The Veal Shank Redemption.”

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 to 4 pounds veal shanks, cracked at 2½-inch intervals
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ounces pancetta, sliced ¾ inch thick
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 imported bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 pound large carrots, cut on the diagonal into pieces 1½ inches thick
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 cups medium-dry white wine
  • 5 garlic cloves—3 whole, 2 chopped
  • 2 tablespoons bitter orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 pound chanterelle mushrooms, preferably large, halved
  • 1 jar (8 ounces) roasted chestnuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter. When heated to sizzling, add the veal shanks. Cook, turning carefully, until deeply browned all over, about 12 minutes. Remove the veal shanks to an ovenproof casserole, preferably stoneware or earthenware, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the pancetta, onions, bay leaves, thyme, and star anise to the oil remaining in the skillet. Cover, reduce the heat to moderately low, and cook until the onions are soft and glazed, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots and a pinch of sugar, return the heat to moderate, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are glazed, about 5 more minutes. Scrape the contents of the skillet into the casserole.
  3. Pour the wine into the skillet and boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Pour the reduced wine into the casserole. Add the 3 whole garlic cloves, ½ cup water, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover with a sheet of crumpled wet parchment paper and a tight-fitting lid. Braise the veal shanks in the oven until they are very tender, about 2 hours. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the veal to a baking sheet. Set aside the carrot chunks and pancetta in a separate dish.
  4. Increase the oven temperature to 350°F. Skim the fat from the sauce and reserve both the fat and sauce. In a small bowl, blend the marmalade with the vinegar and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread the marmalade over the veal shanks and bake uncovered for 20 minutes, basting every 5 minutes with some of the sauce, until the shanks are nicely glazed. Transfer the shanks to a warm serving platter. Reserve any sauce for Step 6. Scatter the carrots and pancetta around the veal, cover everything with foil, and set in the oven with the door partly ajar.
  5. Quickly wash the chanterelles; drain well and pat dry. Over medium heat in a large skillet heat 1 teaspoon of the reserved skimmed fat until hot. Add half the chanterelles and cook until they “whistle” and begin to release their liquid. Drain the mushrooms in a colander set over a bowl, reserving the liquid. Repeat with the remaining chanterelles and another 1 teaspoon fat.
  6. Wipe out the skillet and set it over moderately high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the chestnuts and season with salt and pepper. Add all the chanterelles and the chopped garlic to the skillet and cook, tossing, until the chanterelles are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Scrape the contents of the skillet around the veal shanks. Add the collected mushroom juices and the remaining sauce to the skillet and quickly reduce to napping consistency, cups, about 3 minutes. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour over the veal shanks and carrots, sprinkle with parsley, and serve at once.