Oh the weather outside is frightful…about 36 inches of new snow. I’d like to think we are snowed in but we really never get snowed in here in Park City because the plows come through very regularly and can handle every storm. But it’s nice to dream and think we can’t get out, isn’t it?
Even though we can get out….we really rather just sit by the fireplace and watch the snow pile up. Three rounds of blowing the snow off of the driveway and two rounds of shoveling snow off of our deck makes for a very hungry family. So what to make for dinner??? No problem at my house. While many people in Utah have food storage facilities in case of a real disaster I don’t have one but I do think we could live for weeks on gourmet food from our freezer and home canned goods from the pantry. When I find good deals at the store I stock up and during the summer produce season I can and freeze fruits and vegetables.
When I realized we wouldn’t be driving to Colorado because of the blizzard raging on our travel route through Wyoming I looked in the freezer to see what was available and what would taste great on this very cold and snowy day. The veal shanks won the contest. A dinner of nice, unctuous veal shanks with a hearty sauce will make a delicious and heart warming dinner.
I defrosted two shanks, wiped them dry with a paper towel and dusted them with a mixture of flour, pepper, and a little smoked salt. I put my skillet on the stove and added about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then raised the heat to medium to high. Once the oil got hot I added the veal chops to brown. The way I tell if the chop is ready to turn is by listening to the pan….when you first put the chop into the hot pan you will hear lots of sizzling but when the meat and flour start to brown nicely the sizzling will slow down and almost stop. At that point turn the meat over. This is an easy trick for browning meat so you don’t have to keep picking up the meat to see if it is brown enough…just use your ears instead of your eyes.
Once browned on all sides I put the shanks in my enameled cast iron skillet and added about 2 cups of beef broth along with 1/3 a cup of dried porcini mushrooms which I had let soak in the beef broth while I was browning the meat (you can use any other type of mushrooms except the black oriental ones) and about 10 sun dried tomatoes to the liquid. I also added 2 smashed cloves of garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano. I put the covered Dutch oven into a 350 oven and let the meat braise for about 3 hours. The aroma in the house was fantastic and made sitting by the fire and watching the snow fall even more enjoyable.
While exploring the freezer I also found some butternut squash gnocchi that I had made back in the fall when butternut squash was plentiful at the farmer’s market (I’ll post gnocchi recipes in the future). Add to the meal some brussel sprouts from the refrigerator which were quickly parboiled and then roasted with olive oil and salt and great meal was completed…all from what was already in the house.
Oh, I did forget to mention the wine. Anyone who knows my family knows that wine is a big part of our food celebrations. A trip to the wine cellar by my husband resulted in a perfect wine for the food.