Just when I was starting to think about spring, getting my planter boxes ready, looking forward to putting away the heavy sweaters, and dreaming about the sun on my face, it feels like winter again. So, out comes the cast iron dutch oven and time to braise a big piece of meat. It's my Pavlovian response to cold weather. Must braise meat.
3 Crosscut Veal Shanks, about 2" thick
2 Carrots, diced
2 Celery ribs, diced
1 Small onion, finely chopped
1/4 Cup dry vermouth
1 1/4 Cups dry white wine
1 1/2 Cups chicken stock
2 Cups beef stock
Salt and pepper the veal shanks and coat with flour, shaking off any excess. Brown all sides of the shanks in a large dutch oven with a few tablespoons of canola oil, adding more if needed. Remove the shank and all but 1 tbsp of oil. Then brown the carrots, celery and onion. Deglaze with the vermouth and wine, then add the stocks and bring to a boil. Return the shanks to the pot. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on the size of the shanks. Check on them from time to time and turn or rotate them gently.
When they are close to fall off the bone tender, remove them to a dish and cover with foil so they don't dry out. Keep the veal in a warm spot while you finish the sauce. Strain the cooking liquid pressing on the solids to capture all of the juices. Return the liquid back to the pot and discard the vegetables. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce until slightly thickened. Adjust seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.
For the Pine Nut Gremolata:
1/2 Cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1/4 Cup pine nuts, toasted
Zest of 1 lemon
Mix all together
For the Roasted Mushrooms:
I used a mixture of Crimini and Velvet Piopini
Cut the Crimini mushrooms in half or thick slices if they are larger, or leave them uncut if they're smaller. Toss both mushrooms with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast under the broiler for about 5 minutes, turning turning over half way through.
The sauce was a hit. I loved the gremolata. Bone marrow in the veal shank was divine. Leftovers saved for a pasta meal to come.