I’m staying true to my word and, once again, pushing the culinary envelope. When I started this blog, I promised to make seemingly complicated dishes more accessible to the masses, and, well, my hope is that this recipe will prove to do just that. If the likelihood of you tackling this recipe tonight is akin to you climbing Everest and returning by daybreak, let me assuage your concerns and remind you that never is a recipe so easy as when it is approached with an open mind…and explicit instructions. I’m treating you with kid gloves today and providing you with step-by-step…by step photos to walk you through the process of making this dish and the ever-dreaded task of making risotto. There’s a reason that risotto have never been successfully executed on 10+ seasons of Top Chef – it CAN be difficult. But with the right attitude and some TLC, your risotto will shine as bright as the smile you’ll be wearing after successfully tackling this. And I assure you that once you’ve learned to make dreamy risotto at home, you’ll never want to order it off a restaurant menu again.
This isn’t a dish that can be made quickly. It requires love and attention and a slow cooking process. The cut of meat — veal shank — has connective tissue that runs around and through it so it requires slow braising to tenderize it. When it is fully cooked, the meat will literally fall apart — it is that tender. When I’m braising and slow-cooking, I always use a cast iron pot. Cast iron holds heat more effectively and re-radiates it. The heat is actively evened out and breaks the flow of what would otherwise be direct heat, redirecting it in a different path. I have two such pots that are dear to me. A bright orange one that I use almost daily and a deep blue one that is, admittedly, less loved and can be found somewhere deep in the recesses of my garage. If you don’t have a cast iron pot, you can most certainly braise in any large pot.
So try this recipe tonight. There’s still a few hours before dinnertime to braise this incredibly tender and delicious stew and make this ethereally creamy risotto before the kids get home. I challenge you to expand your children’s palettes, dig deep to find your inner epicurean and give your family or dinner guests a break from the everyday to create a meal that is so good it should be renamed “the veal shank redemption”. You’ll thank me for it. Now, mangia, mangia!
You’ll want to dredge each side of the veal shank with flour after seasoning it. The flour ensures that you get a nice sear on the meat for added flavour and also thickens the stew as it cooks.