As the leaves change with the season, so does our appetite. With shorter days, colder nights and wetter climates, we crave that soul-soothing comfort food: Sunday suppers and hearty meals designed to not only stick to our bones and provide energy, but to fulfill a deeper craving of nostalgia. German cuisine can satisfy these yearnings with slow-braised meats, crispy mini-dumplings, ales and lagers. These slow-cooked foods allow us time to sip beer with our friends as we wait patiently for sinuous tissues to break down into tender bits of meat, filling the home with glorious aromas.
The richness of the Munich malt and the well-marbled meat combined with a low and slow cooking technique of braising creates a warm, hearty meal that feeds the soul. This German style Osso Bucco is a great centerpiece for any feast. It’s easy to make, full of flavor and the sauce is to die for.
Starting the day before you want to serve this dish, season the shanks with salt and pepper, re-wrapping them back in the butcher’s paper and refrigerate them for 24 hours. This will help fully season the meat.
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add oil or fat. Dredge each piece of shank in the flour and brown as in the HasenpfefferHasenpfeffer recipe. Remove from the pan and check if more oil is needed. Add onions, carrots, leeks, celery and bay leaves; stir and cook for 5 – 6 minutes until the onions are transparent and the veggies are lightly caramelized. Add garlic and thyme, cooking for another minute. Deglaze with German lager and add the stock. Nestle the shanks into the liquid and bring to a simmer.
Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place into the center of a preheated 325°F | 163°C oven. Braise for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, until fork tender. Remove from the oven and place over a burner on medium heat. Transfer the shanks to a plate, and reduce the braising liquid by half. Check the seasoning of the sauce.
Serve with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes infused with Altbier.
Lamb or pork shanks would also be very nice in this same preparation.