Braised Pork Shank with Isreali Couscous,
White Beans and Tomato
Raising beautiful animals on the farm and watching them grow provides us an opportunity to really appreciate them for all they offer us while they are living out their lives in the best way we can provide for them. As I reached out to our customers recently, I asked each of them would they want us to deliver the “pork shank” with their bulk order. Surprisingly, I didn’t get a resounding “yes”, and so I decided to share a recipe and a few ideas about the importance of appreciating the “whole animal”.
Not considered one of the prime retail cuts of meat, the shank is none the less meaty, flavorful and collagen-rich. Slowly braised, the structure and integrity of the meat is retained while the collagen is dissolved into a melt in your mouth celebration of the whole animal.
All it takes is a little time to enjoy the reward of this perfect seasonal meal choice. Winter braises give us permission to take the time to enjoy dishes from the kitchen that are worth waiting for.
The ingredients are so rustic and simple. A mirepoix, or carrot, celery and onion with fresh herbs, some white wine and chicken stock are all that is required to let this often overlooked cut of meat provide the perfect comforting meal on your winter dinner table.
The first step in the process of a braise, or slow cooked dish with moisture, is to sear the meat to hold in the flavors and juices.
So, bring the meat to room temperature, season with salt and pepper, then dredge lightly in flour.
The olive oil should be almost smoking when you sear the meat. The color of the perfect sear will show up immediately, and the meat will be crisp and not greasy. Getting this step right will insure great results when you are ready to enjoy your meal.
A mirepoix of vegetables, those standard vegetables that round out the dish and bring depth to the sauce, is such an important part of the ingredient list. Chopped in a small dice, the flavors are released and become complex and integral to the cooking liquid.
Add the white wine, broth and the meat to this vegetable base, lid on and into the oven…
In just 2 and 1/2 hours, your pork falls from the bone, but with enough structure to hold the meat, the moisture and the flavor all together in every delicious bite. Here it is served over a comforting Israeli Couscous with rosemary and a splash of lemon juice to pop all the flavors in the dish right out to meet your taste buds! Enjoy!
Israeli Couscous with White Beans and Tomatoes
The dish behind the dish in this seasonal meal is as simple to prepare as the braise itself. A short list of ingredients to include Israeli Couscous, chicken broth, white beans, diced tomato, fresh rosemary and lemon juice, it is assembled and cooked in less than 20 minutes. The citrus and rosemary are a great compliment to the succulence of the pork, and really bring out all the flavors and texture of the dish.
We are happy to include pork shank for our customers. If you aren’t close enough to order from our farm, ask your local farmer if they can provide. It’s a great way to celebrate the whole animal.
- 2 pork shank
- salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ cup each carrot, onion and celery
- 2 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon each fresh parsley and thyme
- 2 cup chicken broth
- ¾ cup white wine
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 2 cup chicken broth
- 1 can cannelini beans
- 1 can diced tomato
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- ¼ cup onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 wedge fresh lemon juice
- 1. Preheat the oven to 325. Assemble all ingredients prior to beginning to cook. Have chopped vegetables, chopped herbs, chicken broth, wine and seasonings measured and assembled into your "mise en place", or everything in it's place. I like to place my prepped ingredients on a tray, or section of my countertop, all together.
- 2. Season the pork shanks with salt and pepper, dredge in flour and rest on a baking rack and allow to come close to room temperature. The baking rack will prevent the flour from becoming gummy on the meat and will insure a crisp coating on the outside when seared.
- 3. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed braising pan (a pan with high sides and a lid that can go into the oven) until almost smoking. Place the floured pork shanks into the pan and brown on all sides. Remove from the pan.
- 4. Add onion, celery, garlic and carrots to the pan and saute for 3-4 minutes.
- 5. Add the fresh herbs to the mirepoix, or chopped vegetables, along with the white wine and chicken broth. Allow to come to a simmer. Adjust seasonings.
- 6. Return the pork shanks to the pan, cover with the lid and place in the oven for 2½ to 3 hours.
- 7. While pork shank is in the oven, prepare the Israeli Couscous dish.
- 8. Bring 2 cups chicken broth to a boil in a heavy 2 quart pot with lid.
- 9. Add couscous while stirring, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.
- 10. Remove from the stovetop and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- 11. Pour the couscous onto a cookie sheet and spread out to cool to prevent stickiness.
- 12. In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped garlic and onion and saute until tender, approximately 4 minutes.
- 13. Add drained white beans and tomato and simmer for 10 minutes.
- 14. When couscous is cooled to room temperature, combine with bean and tomato mixture, adding fresh rosemary, salt and pepper to taste and a spritz of fresh lemon juice.
- To prepare the individual plate or platter for the table, spoon the couscous onto the plate or platter first, then place the pork shank on top of the couscous. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons per serving of the pan sauce on top of the pork shank. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary and a wedge of fresh lemon.