In Umbria, pork is almost always the meat of choice, and pork shanks, or stinco, are found on many restaurant menus during the cooler moths of the year. Pork shanks are cooked slow and long until the meat is so tender it literally falls off the bone. This inexpensive cut of meat is easily found in Umbria although is not as typical here in North America.
I have to go to a specialty butcher store to find pork shanks here in the US, although they can be found. This hearty cut of meat is full of flavor and it works well served with mashed potatoes or polenta. I like to sprinkle some gremolata on top of this meat to add a touch of freshness.
Gremolata is simply a blend of chopped garlic, parsley and lemon zest that works really well on fattier cuts of braised meats. In this recipe, the pork is cooked in white wine with vegetables, and I pureed this mixture once the pork was cooked to make a tasty sauce.
In Umbria, stinco is usually served on the bone, one per person, although I find it to be too much meat. I prefer to cut the meat off the bone in chunks and serve it on top of polenta or mashed potatoes alongside the sauce. I like to cook cuts of meat such as this in my Le Creuset Dutch oven, although any heavy bottom pot will work fine.
- 2 Medium Sized Pork Shanks
- Salt & Pepper
- 3 Tablespoons Olive OIl
- 1/2 Medium Onion, Chopped
- 1 Celery Stalk, Chopped
- 1 Medium Carrot, Trimmed & Chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
- 1 Fresh Sprig of Rosemary
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 2 Cups Dry White Wine
- 1 Cup Beef or Veal Stock
- 3/4 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves
- Zest From 1 Lemon
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Chopped
- Soft Polenta or Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Trim the shanks, and season with salt and pepper.
- In a heavy bottom Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat and brown the shanks evenly on each side until golden brown.
- Remove the shanks to a plate, then add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic, and cook until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the rosemary, oregano, wine, and stock to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Return the shanks to the pot, cover, and reduce to a simmer.
- Cook for 1 1/2 hours, turning the shanks over occasionally, until the meat falls off the bone.
- While the meat is cooking, place the parsley, garlic, and lemon zest on a cutting board, and coarsely chop.
- Place the shanks on a warm platter, and remove the rosemary sprig.
- Drain off any visible fat from the remaining liquid, then puree it with an immersion blender (hand wand).
- Taste, and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Place the polenta or potatoes on a platter and spoon the sauce around the potatoes or polenta.
- Carve the shank into large chunks and arrange on top of the potatoes or polenta.
- Sprinkle the shanks with the gremolata, then serve immediately.