Pork Hocks Braised with Potatoes and Apple ~ Christine Ano-Larson

This recipe and photo of our Crooked Gap Farm pork hocks (shanks) was shared by Christine Ano-Larson.

Christine says, “I must say, it was the PERFECT fall dish. Here’s the recipe I sort of followed in case you want to give it a go. It’s AWESOME!”

This recipe, by Jonathan M. Forester, along with additional photos, can be found at Slash Food: http://www.slashfood.com/2007/08/13/spicy-braised-pork-shank/

Forester’s Spicy Braised Pork Shank
1 pork shank
1 Vidalia Onion- rough shopped
1 gala apple- rough shopped
8 cloves of garlic- finely chopped
2 large shallots- finely chopped
1 cup rough chopped celery
eight small red potatoes, quartered.
1 large tomato or 2 small ones- rough chopped
1-2 jalapeno- seeds and veins discarded and finely chopped (use one if you only like a little bit of spice or two if you want a bit more. This isn’t a very spicy dish and just has a hint of heat to boost the other flavors.)
4 oz. red wine
6 oz. white wine (Dry, sweet, it doesn’t matter. I used a few ounces of a dry Chardonnay and a few of a sweet Late Harvest Riesling.)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees. Cross hatch the skin on the shank, cutting all the way through the skin and fat, but not into the meat. Melt the butter in your dutch oven and saute the shank at medium-high heat until the skin is crispy and puffed up and a deep golden brown. This caramelizing of the meat, skin, and fat, what is called the Maillard Reaction, will produce a deep and meaty flavor that really makes the dish.

Pour off all the accumulated fat and butter and then lower the heat to medium-low and add the garlic and shallots and saute for a minute or so.

Then add the celery.

The onions and apple.

The tomatoes and all the rest of the ingredients. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover it, and put it in the 300 degree oven for two hours. Gently stir the ingredients and turn over the pork shank once every thirty minutes, but otherwise leave it alone. After two hours add the potatoes, submerging them in the sauce/cooked vegetables and cook for an additional thirty minutes without touching it.

Plate it on a big serving platter and then pull the meat from the bones and serve. Mmmmm… that looks great.

And tastes even better. This is a very rich dish and it actually made enough for three meals which I had over several days. The flavor developed even more after sitting in the fridge and on the third day I was moaning with pleasure as I finished it off. It was so good that I made it again, this time with smoked pork shanks which gave it almost a completely different flavor. Either way it’s a great dish.

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Shank Meat and Beans in Broth

I cooked up two pots of shanks according to this method.  Along with the BBQ pork sandwich meal we had from them, I ended up with 9 pints of shredded pork that I will use for stir fry, fajitas, pulled pork sandwiches, and BBQ pork sandwiches.

I still had a bit of pork broth left from canning soup bones, so I decided to use this broth to soak and can beans in, adding extra flavor and nutrients to my beans. I ended up with 5 quarts of flavored navy beans, 8 pints (we ate 2 already) and 2 quarts of baked beans/pork and beans, and 8 pints of flavored black beans.

Fajitas

After boiling your shank (uncured ham hock) to get broth and meat, cook your rice in the broth. The meat can then be seasoned with a homemade or packages taco seasoning mix. Add your favorite fillings, and you have a delicious wrap!  This meal can also be made with meat from shoulder roasts or shoulder steaks and broth from soup bones.
Lettuce is from Blue Gate Farm‘s Tapestry Salad Mix. 
CGF Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
1 lb CGF pork or beef
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp minced onion
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp oregano

BBQ Pork Sandwich

Add some BBQ sauce to your pulled pork and get a tasty BBQ pork sandwich. This BBQ pork sandwich was made from meat from a shoulder roast.  Other cuts that work well for BBQ pork are shoulder steaks, uncured hocks (shanks), and fresh ham roasts and steaks.
 
CGF Homemade BBQ Sauce 
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
3 T Worchestershire Sauce
3 T apple cider vinegar
2 T molasses
1 tsp mustard
1 c ketchup

Cooking Ham Hocks and Shanks

* Place ham hock or shank in a crock pot or pan with just enough water to cover. Cook on low or simmer 6+ hours or overnight. The longer you cook them, the more tender and nutrient rich it gets. You can add a tsp or so of vinegar to help draw out nutrients from the ham hock. You can also add a variety of veggies and spices while cooking to flavor your stock even more if desired.

* Pour contents into another bowl through a strainer to separate out the broth. Add the meat back to the broth if desired, and discard the scraps. (Your dogs will love the scraps – minus the softened bones)

*** If you chose to add the meat back in, try not to stir the hock while it is cooking so the meat doesn’t separate. It is VERY tender when cooked this way.

Your ham or pork broth is done and is ready to use, freeze, or can.

Our favorite uses for ham both are ham and noodles, bean soup, and lentil soup, and our favorite uses for shanks are fajitas, pulled pork and BBQ pork sandwiches, and flavoring rice and noodles with the broth.