Braised Pork Shanks by Chef Cesare Casella of Thanksgiving Farm

Chef Cesare Casella is best known as “the chef with the rosemary”. For the past 20 years, Chef Casella has been sharing his passion for authentic Italian food with Americans. Today, Chef Casella is the owner and executive chef of two Italian restaurants in New York City. He is the Dean of Italian Studies at the International Culinary Center and serves as Chief of the Department of Nourishment Arts at The Center for Discovery, where he works to raise awareness about sustainability and nutrition.


Preparation time: 10 minutes (plus overnight marination)
Cooking time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Yield 6 servings


6 pork shanks
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, divided
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, divided
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 red onion, cut in large chunks
5 juniper berries
1 3/4 white wine
1 cup tomato puree
2 cups beef or chicken stock, divided



1. Before cooking the pork, rub it with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3. In a large ovenproof pan, combine the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. 1 clove garlic, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon thyme and heat over medium heat for about 1 minute. Coat the shanks with flour, shaking off the excess. Increase the heat to medium-high and brown the shank on all sides. Transfer the shanks to a plate and set aside.
4. Pour out the excess fat from the pan and add the carrot, celery, and onion. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring often, and then return the shanks to the pan. Mix well. Add the juniper berries, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in the wine, tomato puree, and 1 cup stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and transfer to the oven.
5. Bake for 2 hours, turning the shanks every 20 minutes, so that they cook evenly, Add the remaining 1 cup stock as needed to keep the liquid halfway up the sides of the meat. The meat will be fork tender when done; if it is still tough, back another 30 minutes.




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