12 April 2009

Stripped Down to the Bone

Back in the States, Easter dinner usually consists of ham. Baked, spiral-cut, glazed... Regardless of the kind, it either came out of a large can or, if your family's fancy, was picked up at your local Honeybaked outlet.

Fuck. That. Shit.

In much of Europe, Easter dinner is often focused on lamb. This is probably because of the large population of Jews and Muslims.

(Hang on. Wait. Let that sink in. Then groan.)

We'd planned to go the European way, but once we went to our butcher and saw the osso buco on display, we thought, "Screw it! It's not like we're religious anyway." (Though Alannah seems to cry out to god quite a bit...)

The green market had some nice (if small) fava beans on offer, and from that moment our Easter dinner was conceived.

The veal shank was floured and fried for three minutes on each side in our cast iron pot (you can use any braising pan/dutch oven), then set to braise with sautéed diced aromatics and just enough red wine and rosé to reach the top of the meat, all for about 3 hours in a medium-hot oven.

Alannah fricasseed the fava beans (pre-steamed from the long shelling process) with diced onion in a sauce of egg yolk beaten with cream and a touch of lemon juice.

This all sits on a bed of olive oil mashed potatoes... Skin-on because that's how we like it.

Topped off with chopped mint, because you need to keep your breath fresh after wolfing down meat and creamy sauce.

The result was a series of oohing and aahing unheard since... Okay, not very long ago. The veal flaked apart at the lightest touch, with any trace of fat or connective tissue disintegrating on the tongue. The fava beans showed their freshness by staying firm, a perfect accompaniment to the richness of the meat, and the creamy fricassee sauce acting like a gravy over the potatoes. The best part of a bone-in piece of meat: The marrow. Gooey, greasy, and glistening, ready to be slurped up.

Suffice it to say, every bone in this house gets sucked clean.

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