Pork is the meat of choice here in Umbria, and one item that is often on casual restaurant menus in our area is stinco di maiale. This is simply a pork shank that has been slowly roasted until the meat becomes so tender it falls off the bone. Stinco is a very inexpensive cut of meat here, so when I see it I often pick it up. There are many ways to prepare this cut of meat, but I prefer slowly braising it with vegetables and some type of liquid as I do in this recipe. The day I decided to prepare stinco for dinner was the day before we headed up to the mountains in northern Italy. This is a very typical type of dish served there as the area’s cuisine is highly influenced by its proximity to Germany and Switzerland. In honor of our upcoming trip I decided to use beer as my braising liquid.
The sauce used to dress the finished meat is a simple one as I simply used my hand blender to blend together the vegetables and cooking liquids. After that, you just need to taste it and adjust the seasonings and you have a tasty sauce. I prefer to serve the stinco by pulling the meat off the bone. In this version I made a pillow of pureed cauliflower for underneath, but mashed potatoes or polenta work well also. I simply placed some of the meat on the cauliflower, then drizzled some of the sauce on top. I served my stinco with a side of sautéed greens, but you can choose any vegetable side you prefer. To comlete my dish, I topped the meat with a fresh tasting apple gremolata- apples, parsley, and lemon zest chopped together. I use my Le Creuset cast iron roaster for this dish which works perfectly for dishes that go from stove top to oven.
Deborah Mele 2014
- 2 Medium Sized Pork Shanks
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Carrots, Peeled & Cut Into 2-inch Pieces
- 1 Medium Onion Cut Into Wedges
- 2 Celery Stalks, Cut Into 2-inch Pieces
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1/2 Liter Beer
- 1/2 Cup Diced Peeled Apples
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves
- Zest From 1 Lemon
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a heavy ovenproof casserole dish or pot, heat the oil over medium heat until lightly smoking.
- Season the shanks with salt and pepper, then brown both the pork shanks well on all sides, about 12 minutes.
- Place the vegetables and garlic around the shanks, then add the rosemary, oregano, salt, pepper, and beer.
- Bring to a boil, then cover and place the pot into the oven.
- Cook for 3 hours, turning the meat twice during the cooking time.
- Just before the meat has finished cooking, chop the ingredients for the gremolata together.
- Carefully remove the shanks and rosemary sprig from the pot.
- Use a hand wand to puree the vegetables and liquids until smooth.
- Taste, and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Remove the meat from the bones and place on a platter.
- Spoon the sauce over the meat, spoon the gremolata, and serve as suggested. (See Notes Above)