Pork Shanks with Red Beets and Blueberries

Today it’s cold and I am starting dinner early. This dish takes about 2 hours or more to make but it takes care of itself for the most. Not only is it delicious, it is inexpensive. Depending on the size of the shanks, two may be enough for 4 people. If the dinner guests are 4 young men, count on a shank for each person.  Blueberries and beets makes this dish different and fun.  We can blueberries all the year round and , of course, beets we get in the winter months.  The Danes like to use beer when cooking.


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4 main course servings

2 (3lbs. each) pork shanks

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced leeks

1 cup diced onion

2 tsp. minced garlic

2-3 sprigs of thyme

2-3 sage leaves

10 black peppercorns

2 cups vegetable broth

1 dark beer

4 red beets

3-4 oz. coarse salt

1 tbsp. rapeseed oil

½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 oz. blueberries, chopped fresh thyme

Sauce: 2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F.

To make the port shanks, score fat in a cross-hatch pattern in rind without cutting into the meat itself. Brown shanks in the warm oven 10-15 minutes until shanks begin to caramelize. Place pork in a large heavy ovenproof pot, with a tight fitting lid; arrange carrots, leeks, onions, garlic, thyme, sage, peppercorns and bay leaves around the pork. Add broth and beer. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover and transfer to the oven.

Reduce the heat to 300°F an braise 1½ – 2 hours-

To make the red beets, was 4 beets and place them in a roasting pan no larger than just enough to hold them. Cover beets with salt. Set beets in oven next to shanks an bake 1½ hours. Transfer beets to a plate and let them cool off. When cool, remove skins and slice them into thin slices. Whisk rapeseed oil and vinegar together with thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add blueberries and beets to bowl an toss so that blueberries an beets are covered.

To make the sauce, transfer shanks to a plate. Strain braising liquid into a pot and cook over high heat until reduced by half. Add apple cider vinegar and whisk butter in. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, place shanks on a platter and arrange beets and blueberries around shanks. Garnish with thyme sprigs. Pass the sauce separately.

Suggested accompaniment: mashed potatoes.

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