Today I spent the day in bed, feeling all mopey and sleepy. Missing the Boy and possibly fighting some kind of French flu (or just the side effects of not sleeping very well or very much lately). What I really wanted, was some good chicken noodle soup, but the last time I went down to the Jewish quarter for matzoh ball soup (there was no chicken noodle), it was overpriced and disappointing. I didn't want to make it at home because I don't like dealing with picking apart raw chicken carcasses. Also, I figured I needed the extra kick of red meat. After doing some thinking, I decided on pasta with a heavy sauce and lamb shanks. We have a fair amount of port left from before the Boy left and I'm sure it's too old to be any good for drinking so I decided to make that.
However, when I got to my wonderful butcher, I found that he had no Jarret d'agneau! So I got Jarret de veau, Veal Shank. Unfortunatley, it was a lot more expensive than I expected, so I didn't have the heart to turn it into a sauce. Instead I made plain braised veal shanks, with carrots and celery (including celery leaves), the rest of my thyme and a bay leaf. And so my port lives to see another day.
Jarret de veau
(Adapted from Epicurious)
Makes a hearty meal for three meat-eaters, or a normal meal for six.
6 Veal Shanks, bone-in (about 1.5 kg in all)
Salt and Pepper
Dried Oregano to taste
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large Onion, chopped
1 Carrot, peeled and chopped
2 Celery Stalks and their leafy tops, the stalks chopped
6 sprigs of Thyme
1 Sprig of Bay Leaf
1/2 L Chicken Bouillon
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Rub Salt, Pepper and Dried Oregano on both sides of each
Shank. Heat 1/4 cup Olive Oil in an oven-proof pot big enough to hold all six chops over medium-high heat. Pour Flour into a shallow bowl or onto a cutting board. Dip each side of each piece of veal into the flour. Shake off the excess and place the shank into the pot. Turn the heat down to medium and brown the veal, about 3 minutes each side. The veal should be in one layer in the pot, so you will probably have to brown it in batches. When each piece is done, transfer it to a plate.
Add the rest of the Olive Oil to the pot. Add the Onion, Carrot, Celery stalks and leaves, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Salt, Pepper and Oregano. Cook for 12 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan every so often to prevent nasty stains you'll have to scratch out. Add more Salt, Pepper or Oregano if you desire. Add the veal on top and cover everything with chicken stock. Put the pot into the oven (preferably covered to keep it from drying out) for 1 hour, 10 minutes. Place 1-2 Shanks on each plate and cover in sauce and veggies. Serve immediately.
This was yummy and, because I'm a meat-eater, I neglected to make a side. But I'll have a nice dinner for three days and will keep you updated on re-heating, etc. Who doesn't love left-overs?
Update: I made a new variation!