Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chinese Elk Shanks

A Chinese red- cooking braise-- good for any shanks, but you need strong tasty almost tough meat. What you should end up with is a kind of Chinese osso bucco with more than a hint of chile-- restaurant good & fork tender. Mine but owes much to Fuchsia Dunlop...

Preheat the oven to a pretty low temperature. I use only 250 degrees, and plan to cook it for hours.

Heat a few tbsp of peanut oil in a Dutch oven. Add 2 tbsp of good chili bean paste (not one of the vinegary kinds, or one with lots of extra ingredients other than beans and chile), a cinnamon stick, a star anise, up to 8 dried little red chiles, and a one inch chunk of ginger cut into very thin slices. Turn them all around until they're well coated, and the smell gets good.

Now add the shanks, turning them around until they're browned and covered by the spices.

Now, add enough water or stock to virtually cover the shanks, and bring to a boil. I like to use good homemade chicken or game stock as it is richer than water.

When it's bubbling add a tbsp of dark soy sauce (this is a heavy sweeter sauce -- you can get it in Chinese markets; if you can't find it, don't worry about it); 2 tbsp regular soy sauce and 2 tsp clear vinegar, preferably rice vinegar if you have it.

Now cover it and stick it in the oven and leave it for a minimum of 5 hours. If you leave it long enough I suggest you turn it down even lower to 225 or even 200.

Garlic mashed potatoes are a good accompaniment. Or you can do Chinese style potatoes: peel, cut into chunks, fry in peanut oil until golden and crispy on the outside, and put into the braise an hour before it is done.

Libby reminds me that you may have a slightly shorter cooking time at your altitude, as we are at 6500' plus. Just keep checking -- the thing is to get it falling off the bone and almost meltingly tender. This recipe will work with almost any kind of shanks, as well as beef short ribs.

1 comment:

Retrieverman said...

I love elk venison.

I think I figured out why the elk disappeared in the East.

They are far tastier than white-tailed deer.

BTW, I came across this story of an elk in West Virginia from the twentieth century-- decades after they were supposed to have gone extinct:

Yes. This hunting party went out with a French machine gun.