We are lucky to have such great local pork products available to us here in the Flathead Valley. Incorporating fresh pork in your menu is as simple as visiting one of our local butchers. This recipe, adapted from Michael Chiarello’s Bottega, was a hit during FVCC’s first Chef’s Table of the spring season. We nestled the shank on top of a bed of herbed farro risotto, but this recipe would work well with rice, mashed potatoes or any root vegetable puree of your choice.
- 8 cups kosher salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp. black peppercorns
- 2 Tbsp. juniper berries
- 6 bay leaves, crumbled
- 6 14-16 oz pork shanks, bone in
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 gallon olive oil
- Peanut or canola oil (for frying)
Red Wine Agrodolce (Sweet and Sour):
- 2 cups red wine vinegar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups red onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. fennel seeds
- 4 cups apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup dried fruit of your choice (raisins, currants, apricots)
- 2 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
For the salt cure, combine the salt, sugar, peppercorns, juniper berries and bay leaves in a large bowl. Pour half of this mixture in a large roasting pan and place the shanks on top. Cover with the remaining cure mix. Place in refrigerator and let cure for about four hours.
For the agrodolce, combine the vinegar, sugar, red onion and fennel seeds in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook to reduce to a syrup, 15 to 20 minutes (be careful not to burn the sauce). Remove from heat and let cool. Sauce will continue to thicken.
For the apples, combine the apples, wine, bay leaf, dried fruit, rosemary and Dijon mustard in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a medium-low, cover and let simmer for one hour.
For the pork, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. In a heavy three-gallon pot or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Remove the shanks from the cure, rinse quickly in cold water and pat dry. Add the shanks to the pot and bring to a low simmer over low heat. Transfer the pot to the pre-heated oven and cook, uncovered, for three hours. Remove from the oven and let the shanks cool in the olive oil.
Heat the peanut or canola oil to 375 degrees in a large pot or deep fryer. Remove the shanks from the olive oil and roll them into the powdered sugar, then carefully drop into the fryer. Fry until brown, three to four minutes, then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
To serve, spoon about 3/4 cup apples onto a plate, place the pork shank on top and drizzle with the agrodolce.
Jonathon Hartig is the Executive Sous Chef/Instructional Assistant at The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. For more information about the program, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com.
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