This recipe was originally posted in 2011 and is easily one of my favorites. I’ve been meaning to update it for quite some time because the recipe is amazing, but the post was in need of a facelift. When the first snow fell on Brooklyn a couple of weeks ago, I knew it was time. I’ve updated the recipe slightly; the most notable change is the absence of pomegranate syrup. It simply doesn’t need it. The Quadrupel, as well as the vegetables used in the braising process, contribute an extraordinary depth of flavor on own.
It’s also worth mentioning that this recipe was published in the book Brew Food: Great Beer-Inspired Appetizers, Main Courses, and Desserts. Dr. Bill Sysak of Stone Brewing Company found the recipe on my website and included it with his contribution to the book. That was during the first year of this website; needless to say, I was pretty excited when I received the permission request email!
In the recipe, I suggest straining the vegetables from the sauce. For a heartier version, go ahead and leave them in. The vegetables will be incredibly soft, but they can be mashed up a bit with a wooden spoon to create a thicker sauce. I’ve made the recipe both ways and find that I leave them in when I’m hungry, and strain them out when I’m keen on presentation and a smooth consistency. Either way, the result is a delicious and complex sauce over a hearty dish that makes for an incredibly satisfying meal.
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 120 minutes
3 pounds veal shanks Substitute with beef shanks if veal is not available
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons canola oil or lard
2 cups Belgian-Style Quadrupel
1 to 2 cups chicken stock
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
6 thyme sprigs, plue more for garnish
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Secure meat to bone by wrapping kitchen twine around the perimeter of each shank twice and tying a tight knot. Using papertowels, pat the shanks until dry; liberally season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place flour in a shallow plate. Dredge shanks until well coated, shaking off any excess.
In a large dutch oven, heat oil until smoking. Add shanks and cook until well browned, two to three minutes per side . To prevent overcrowding, this may need to be done in two batches. Transfer browned shanks to a plate; set aside. Add carrot, celery, onion, fennel, and garlic to dutch oven; season with a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, using a wooden spoon to stir occassionally, until the onion is slightly translucent and the vegetables begin to soften. Pour in the beer.
Nestle the shanks into the beer bath and top with enough chicken stock to bring the liquid to the top of the shanks. Add thyme and bay leaves then cover and place in pre-heated oven; set the timer for 90 minutes.
Once the timer goes off, carefully remove from the oven to check the cooking progress. The meat should be fork tender and beginning to fall off the bone. If the shanks are not yet ready, cover and return to them to the oven for an additional 15 to 30 minutes.
When the shanks are ready, transfer them to a large plate and tent with foil.
Pour sauce through a strainer into a large bowl. Discard vegetables and return the sauce to the dutch oven, skimming any fat from the surface. Cook over medium heat until reduced slightly. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Taste the sauce again. If it’s too bitter, add 1 to tablespoons of honey. If it’s in need of a bit of acidity, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
Serve over mashed potatoes or risotto with sauce and garnish with fresh thyme.