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Italian Style Veal Shank Casserole

The Easiest Veal Shanks Casserole, Italian Style

This is the EASIEST of casseroles and is a mix of different Italian suggestions with my twist on it. It is really quick to prepare, may be made well ahead of eating, and will improve as it sits on the stove for a few hours...or even days... !!! PREP TIME 10 MINUTES, COOK TIME 4 to 5 HOURS.
INGREDIENTS (for 6 people):-  Three Veal Shanks (ask your butcher to cut them into pieces (say three per shank), one large Leek, three large Carrots, two Onions, all roughly chopped, three cloves of Garlic, any other root veggies you may have lying in the depths of your fridge...I used Parsnips the other day, but you could equally use Turnips, Swede, Pumpkin...whatever you like to taste !!. 500ml of semi decent white wine, one lemon, 500ml stock (cubes will do), mixed herbs (thyme, bay leaf, parsley, whatever you have in the cupboard), Salt and pepper. Optional 3 red capsicums (in season now and cheap). One lemon. Can of peas (optional).

1/ Brown the veal shanks in a knob of butter and some oil in a deep frying pan, then transfer to your LARGEST cooking pot. You may flour the veal first if you wish, prior to browning, and this will help the sauce thicken.
Throw the chopped veggies, wine, garlic and stock into the pot together with the veal and make sure that the liquid is about three quarters of the way up to the level of the other ingredients. Add more water if necessary and check for seasoning.
2/ Put the red capsicums (if using) whole on an oven tray.
3/ Place the capsicums on top and the veal stew (lid on) on the bottom of a slow oven (140degC), and cook the capsicums for about an hour and the veal stew for a good four to five hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone.
4/ Remove the capsicums from the oven and allow to cool down (this makes peeling easier). Remove the veal stew from the oven and take out the meat with a slotted spoon, placing it on a large serving pate and keep warm. Place the veggies in a liquidiser and blend to a thick mush...do not overblend to a soup like consistency. Hopefully you will have a thick sauce of veggies. If it is too liquidy then thicken with either breadcrumbs or corn flour and milk/water solution cooked through with the veggies on a medium heat for five minutes or so.
5/ Grate the zest of half of the lemon into the sauce and squeeze the juice of  half of it into the veggie sauce and then warm it all through in a pan. Add the peas if using and warm them through as well.
6/ If using the capsicums, then skin them and cut the remaining flesh into stips and dress them atop the veggie sauce...the sweetness of the capsicums offsets the tartness of the veggie sauce, and also adds some colour to the dish.
7/ Either cut the meat off the bone OR leave the meat whole on the bone (remember the shank is full of protein superfood...Marrow !!, and as such the sucking of the marrow bone is highly recommended...although you may need a bib and a finger bowl !!).

TO SERVE;  Place the meat to one side of the plate and ladle the veggie sauce on the other side, with the red capsicum strips atop the sauce. You can always do mashed potatoes to accompany them but good bread is just as nice...  

SERVE WITH:  Either a deep oaked Chardonnay, or perhaps a light fruity red....