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What’s cooking today: Braised pork shank

What’s cooking today: Braised pork shank
Tony Jackman’s braised pork shank, served up. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

The beauty of this dish is that the meat cooks until it’s fall-apart tender, whereafter the cooking stock turns into a sauce.

When you have to cook and write a new recipe every day of the week, you’re always on the lookout for an ingredient to liven things up. I rarely cook pork shanks, so this porcine cut called my name as I walked past the fridge at the supermarket.

This shank was enormous, a 1.3 kg giant, which makes me suspect it is from the rear leg of the pig. A pork shank traditionally comes from the forearm, as the foreleg is called. The German speciality called eisbein is made using the rear pork knuckle, which is the section between the ankle and the leg itself.

Either way, it matters little, other than how you would like to portion it. This big boy served two of us generously.

Apple famously matches pork superbly. But it is also good with Asian condiments such as soy and sesame oil. I decided to mix these two elements up, using apple juice as a base, with a few Asian ingredients thrown in.

(Serves 2)

Ingredients

1 x 1.3 kg pork shank

1.5 litres pure apple juice

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

3 Tbsp garlic-ginger paste

Salt to taste (go easy, the soy is salty)

Black pepper to taste

Method

Leave the thick skin on when cooking the pork shank, as it helps retain the moisture and holds it intact. It can be peeled off afterwards or during the braise.

Braise the shank and place it into a deep, heavy pot, pour in the apple juice and add the soy, sesame oil and garlic-ginger paste. Season with salt and black pepper.

Bring it to the boil, then reduce to a steady simmer and cook for about two and a half hours.

Remove it to a suitable bowl and boil the cooking broth down rapidly until it becomes a sticky sauce.

Serve with shredded cabbage stir-fried in butter, and that lovely rich sauce. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

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