We bought some beef shanks the other day (I know, I know, it should be veal but PRICE!) and decided to revisit this favorite in the cold and rainy weather. I’ve blogged it before, once long ago, and the original comes from chef Mark Strausman, owner of the hit restaurant Campagna in New York City, from his 1999 recipe book The Campagna Table. I don’t know what prompted me to buy the book waaay back when (book is ©1999, when I got it….?). Maybe it was when we decided to get on the Mediterranean Diet thing, thereby justifying consumption of delicious olive oil and red wind – or when we finally got a decent-operating electric range in the condo? But now cooking with GAS works so much better, and the Christmas-treat enameled dutch-oven is WOOT! Anyhow the basics:
4 veal shanks, cut 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup milled or crushed canned Italian plum tomatoes
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups veal stock, Homemade Chicken Stock, or low-sodium canned broth
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Step 1 – Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Sprinkle the veal shanks with salt and pepper. Spread about 1/2 cup flour on a plate, and dredge the shanks in flour, shaking off any excess.
Step 2 – In a heavy ovenproof pot with a lid, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the shanks, and cook until lightly browned on both sides, turning once. Transfer to a plate, and turn off the heat. Using paper towels, carefully wipe out the pot.
Step 3 – Add olive oil to pot, and heat over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, and onion, and cook until the onion is wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the shanks and tomatoes, wine, stock, thyme, sage, or oregano, zest, and salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a simmer.
Cover, and bake about 2 1/2 hours, until the veal is very tender. Taste for salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
In other news a recently dead actor is Media-Mourned. He made a financially-fabulous living constantly pretending to be somebody other than himself, and FOOLING other people into believing that the projected persona was legit. Hahaha, suckers, it’s all retail sales of another stripe. Mass-media dramatic acting is a kind of hyper-celebrity based on pseudo creativity that’s not on the same level as painting or music – or even dance – or what those things have become in the 21st Century, conflating a public worship of “Celebrity” that has damning ironic tendencies for the mentally average shlub with a good jaw-line or a woman with an awkwardly attractive physique. After many years working in theater I’m not at all surprised about the heroin because for some actors certain drugs really do help to improve the necessary projection of “otherness” and “edginess” they desperately need and seek to impress-with – the “edginess” that is often a part of making the sale, as it were. So now dead is dead.