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Veal Shanks with Green Olive Pesto (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)
Veal Shanks with Green Olive Pesto (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)

Try this comfort classic for easy entertaining Add to ...

As the days grow colder, slow-simmered entrées like this succulent braised veal shank – one of my go-tos for winter entertaining – are a warm and comforting antidote. In this modern version of the classic Milanese osso bucco, the lemony gremolata is replaced with a savoury and fragrant green-olive pesto, which is scattered over the meat before serving, lending balance and deep flavour to the dish.

  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Ready time: 3 hours including braising time
  • Servings: 4

Ingredients

4 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) veal shanks

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup onions, chopped

1 cup carrots, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup canned chopped tomatoes and their juice

2 cups chicken or veal stock

1 bay leaf

2 parsley stalks

2 tsp ancho-chili powder

1/4 tsp chili flakes

1/2 cup green olives, chopped

2 tbsp capers

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1 tsp garlic, chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Season veal shanks with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a heavy, oven-proof pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add shanks and brown well (about 4 minutes per side). Remove the shanks from the skillet and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add onions, carrots and celery to the pot and sauté until softened (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and cook for another minute.

Pour in the wine and bring it to a boil, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, parsley, ancho-chili powder and chili flakes and bring to a boil. Return shanks to the pot in a single layer. The liquid should come 3/4 of the way up the shanks. Add more stock if needed. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until shanks are fork tender.

To make the pesto, combine the green olives, capers, red onion, parsley and garlic in a food processor and process until chunky. Stir in olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper.

Once the shanks are cooked, remove them from the liquid with a slotted spoon and set aside. If the sauce is too thin, bring it to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce until slightly thickened (about 15 minutes). Place shanks in a serving dish, pour the sauce overtop and scatter with pesto.

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