Pork Shank with Red Beets and Blueberries

Shank is the for- and back leg of a calve, ox, lamb or pig. It is delicious and inexpensive. It makes great dinners in a month when most people want to save money. It takes between 2 and 2½ hours to make, but after you brown the shank, add cut-up vegetables, broth and beer, it will simmer for 1½ to 2 hours.  There is lots of meat on a shank. Depending on the size of  shanks, two may not be enough for 4 people. If your dinner guests are 4 young men, count on a shank for each person. Beets are also inexpensive this time of the year. Of course, it is not the season for blueberries, but we can get them from other countries year around. They make a bright addition to the sometimes dreary menus in the cold January months.































Pork Shanks with Red beets and Blueberries

4 main course servings

2 (3 lb. each) pork shanks

1 cup diced carrot

1 cup diced leeks

1 cup diced onion

2 tsp. minced garlic

2-3 sprigs of thyme

2-3 sage leaves

2 bay leaves

10 black peppercorns

2 cups vegetable broth

1 dark beer

5 red beets

3-4 oz. coarse salt

1 tbsp. rapeseed oil

½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 oz. blueberries


2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F.

To make pork shanks, score fat in a cross-hatch pattern in rind, without cutting into the meat itself. Brown shanks in the warm oven 10-15 min. until shanks begin to caramelize. Place pork in a large heavy ovenproof pot with a tight fitting lid; arrange carrots, leeks, onion, 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 and braise 1½ – 2 hrs.

To make red beets, wash 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 and bake 1½ hrs. Transfer beets to a plate and let them cool off. When they are cool, remove skins and slice them in thin slices. Whisk rapeseed oil and vinegar together with thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add blueberries and beets to bowl and toss so that blueberries and beets are covered.

To make 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.

Depending on the size of the shanks, two may not be enough for 4 people. If the dinner guests are 4 young men, count on a shank for each person.

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