In a mere six days—or five, depending on when you eat—many of us will be sitting down to celebrate friends, family, faith (and a boatload of presents) over a festive meal. At the center of this holiday feast? Meat, usually—and often of the pork variety. Now, we love to pick the crusty bits of sugar glaze off a spiral-sliced ham as much as the next person, but this year we have something grander in mind. Chef Neal Fraser knows a thing or two about how to cook a hunk of protein. After all, the man behind of BLD (and one of these days, the next iteration of Grace) recently hosted Beefsteak, an all-you-can-eat sirloin smorgasbord inspired by the extravagant beef gorging rituals of 1930s New York. So we trust the guy when he tells us that these slow-braised pork shanks are worthy of our Christmas table. The individual caveman-size cuts are best served at small gatherings (or if all of your cousins are vegetarians), as they can be somewhat cumbersome to handle. But for an intimate group, Fraser suggests pairing them, Peruvian-style, with chorizo and lomo home fries. Now that's what we call a party. These decadent cuts are a gift in themselves. Happy holidays!
Braised Pork Shank
Serves 4 people
4 ea 16 oz pork shanks, skin off
1 ea yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 ea carrot, peeled and sliced
1 ea apple, peeled and diced
1 sprig sage
3 oz sherry wine vinegar
4 oz sparkling apple cider
2 cups veal stock
6 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Canola oil to brown the vegetables
1 cup wood chips, hickory or whatever you like to use.
Preheat oven to 500 and put the oven fan on high. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Open the windows in the kitchen and turn off the fire detector. It’s going to get Smokey. Put the shanks on a sheet pan or whatever will fit in your oven. Ignite the wood chips in a thin sauté pan over a high burner and then transfer to the oven with the season shanks. Oven roasted and smoke for 20 minutes till the shank is nice and Smokey and the outside of the shanks are golden brown. Remove from oven and turn oven down to 300.
While this is going on, brown the onions and carrots in a stock pot with the oil. Use whatever kind of oil you have. Brown the onions and carrots. Add the apples once this is done and sauté the apples till golden brown. Add the vinegar and apple cider and reduce by ½. Transfer to a hotel pan or Dutch oven (the vessel you are going to put in the oven) Add the sage, oven roasted shanks and the veal stock. Cover with as much chicken stock as you need. The shanks should be fully submerged. Bring to a boil and cover. Turn off flame and transfer to oven.
Cook for 2-3 hours at 300 degrees till the meat is almost falling off the bone. When cooked, cool in the liquid till cold, overnight is best. The next day, remove the shanks from the pot. Bring the sauce to a boil and strain out all of the vegetables. Return ½ of the liquid back to the Dutch oven with the shanks. Return into 450 degree oven. Baste the shanks uncovered till hot in at the bone and glazed in the stock. Approximately 30 minutes. Reduce some of the stock on the stove top for a finished sauce. If you are unsure if the meat is hot all the way thru, take a metal skewer and pierce it into the meat and then touch it to you lip. If the skewer is hot, the meat is hot, if it is not return to the oven and cook until it is. Serve and drizzle some of the reduced stock on top of the shank once it is on the plate.
Chorizo and Lomo Home Fries
Serves 4 people
(Prep time 10 minutes, Cooking time 20 minutes)
2 ea Yukon gold potatoes, washed
2 oz sliced chorizo ( Spanish one), la Espanola meats los angeles
2 oz lomo sliced ( cured pork loin), la Espanola meats los angeles
1 oz chopped herbs ( parsley, thyme, basil)
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Slice potatoes and season with olive oil and salt. Bake till tender.
Heat a heavy bottom sauté pan oven med heat. Add potatoes and butter. Brown on all sides. Add the meat and herbs and heat till meats are hot and slightly crispy. Check seasoning and serve.