Sunday, June 26, 2016

Pork Shanks

For brining shanks:
2 cups apple cider
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup kosher salt
3 Tablespoon mustard seed
1 ½ Tablespoons whole allspice
3 teaspoons coriander seeds
3 whole cloves
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
3 inches of cinnamon stick
4 dried chiles, such as chiles de arbol, lightly crushed

4 pork shanks, scored in a crosshatch pattern
3 pounds pure lard
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
1 handful of mixed thyme and rosemary sprigs

In brining bucket, combine the apple cider, brown sugar, salt, spices, chiles – sir until sugar and salt dissolve.

Add pork shanks to bucket and rub in marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight – no more than 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 250 F.

Remove shanks and rise well.

Melt lard in casserole over moderate heat until it reaches 250 F.

Then, arrange shanks in lard so they are completely submerged. Nestle garlic and thyme/rosemary in lard.

Place lid on casserole.

Transfer casserole to the oven and cook shanks for 3 to 3 ½ hours – until meat is very tender.

Remove from oven and let shanks cool in lard for 15 minutes.


Transfer shanks to rack set over baking sheet.

Can be done in advanced up to here.

Preheat oven to 450 F. Place shanks in oven to heat and crisp up cracklings – may take 20 minutes and may have to turn shanks.

Or, deep fry them. To do this, filter lard through a coffee filter and place back in clean pot. He 
at to 350F and deep fry for 7 minutes.

Braised Red Cabbage

1 red cabbage, 2 -2 ½ pounds – quartered, cored and cut crosswise in thin strips
2 Tablespoons clarified butter
1 small onion – thinly sliced
2 tart apples (Granny Smith/Braeburn) – peeled, cored, sliced
1/3 cup or so of balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Pepper to taste

Prepare cabbage and cover with cold water.

Prepare onion and apples.

Heat clarified butter over medium heat in a large, lidded skillet or casserole and add onion and some salt.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until just about tender – about three minutes.

Add 2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and cook stirring, until mixture is golden, about another three minutes, then add apples and stir for another three minutes.

Drain cabbage and add to pot. Toss to coat thoroughly then stir in allspice, another 2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and salt. Toss together.

Cover pot and cook over low heat for an hour, stirring from time to time.

Add pepper, taste and adjust salt and add another Tablespoon or more of balsamic vinegar as desired.

May be made a day in advanced and then reheated slowly.

Apple Sauce

3 Golden Delicious apples – peeled, cored and quartered
3 Fuji apples – peeled, cored and quartered
1 cup unfiltered apple juice
2 Tablespoons cognac or brandy
2 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a sealable, microwave-safe container. Close lid, leaving one corner of lid open to allow steam to escape.

Microwave on high for 10 – 12 minutes.

Use a hand blender or potato maser to blend to desired consistency.

Serve hot immediately or chill for later use.

Clarified Butter


1 pound unsalted butter

2 Tablespoons corn starch



Melt butter in high sided pot.

Bring to simmer, add corn starch and stir.

Keep stirring until corn starch attracts water and milk solids.

Pour through coffee filter.