This is one of the dishes I first turn to whenever the cool weather hits us. These fabulous braised veal shanks are perfect for family dinners or entertaining. Be sure to keep some small forks or espresso spoons handy for extracting the delicate marrow from the bones. The fennel and orange flavors marry beautifully, as does the vinegar, which cuts through the fatty richness of the veal shanks.
Braised Veal Shanks with Orange and Fennel
8 osso buco veal shanks . . . please select meaty, center-cut pieces,
approximately 14–16 oz. a piece
Kosher salt and pepper
Flour for dredging
4 T. olive oil
2/3 c. sherry wine vinegar
3 c. homemade veal or beef stock
2 medium-sized fennel bulbs, trimmed
3 c. peeled and sliced carrots
1 c. fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 c. cooked and cooled peas (or frozen)
1 orange, peeled and segmented, freed of all connective tissue and
Preheat oven to 375. Season the veal shanks with the salt and pepper and dredge with the flour. Place the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and brown the veal. Reserve to a platter. Discard the fat from the pan.
Add the vinegar, scraping the pan, and reduce by half. Add the stock and reduce by a third. Return the veal to the pan, cover, and braise in the oven for an hour.
Slice the fennel lengthwise into sixths. Uncover the veal, then add the carrots, fennel, and orange juice. Raise temperature to 400 and cook uncovered for another 45 minutes, basting as you go.
Skim the sauce. Reserve the meat (it should be fork-tender) and vegetables to a platter, then return the pan to medium heat on your stovetop and reduce liquids to sauce consistency. Stir in the peas, then season and serve over the shanks.
Garnish with the orange sections. Serves 6.