Pork shank is unfairly undervalued in my opinion, its tough texture usually deters people from trying to cook it, albeit it can be juicy, tender and savory if it’s well prepared. Shank is the bottom portion of a ham, contains a lot of muscle and connective tissue. It is not as fatty as people usually think, it is often leaner than pieces from other areas because shank contains more muscle than fat. There are many different ways to prepare this meat and recipes can vary widely from place to place, but braising and slow roasting are those two commonly applied cooking methods that can get good results in case of pork shank.
The following recipe presents a dish, which is much liked in Hungary. Contrary to the belief it doesn’t have a Hungarian origin, braised and roasted pork shank was first made by French bakers who placed pork shanks in the wood fired oven after finishing bread baking and roasted until crisp and golden brown while basting the meat regularly. Shank is cooked, then roasted with pre-boiled potatoes and onions in the oven. You can choose if you leave the meat on the bone for serving, or you can also chop it into more bite-sized or steak-sized pieces.
- 1 bigger or 2 smaller pork shanks (approx. 1,5 kg with bone)
- 4 tsp salt
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 10 black pepper corns
- 5 allspice corns
- 3 onions or 10 shallots
- 1 kg potatoes
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
Place the pork shank in a large pot of water, add salt, bay leaf, peeled garlic cloves, black pepper and allspice corns. Bring it to a boil, and over low heat cook for 2-2,5 hours or until tender.
In the meantime boil potaoes with their skin on in slightly salted water until half cooked. Peel them, cut into quarters and place in a roasting pan greased with oil.
Preheat the oven to 200 °C (fan forced). Remove the shank from the water and place on the potato bed. Add peeled whole shallots or sliced onions and 1-2 ladles of the cooking water, sprinkle salt and caraway seeds over the meat and vegetables. Place in the oven and roast for about 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Serve with pickles.