Simmering Shanks! Simple Cuisine for the Simple Chef
Posted by Leticia, 05 Sep 06
This month our "Will Cook for Sex" author Rocky Fino gives us a mouth watering recipe for veal shanks for two which will have your date begging for more.
Dr. WrightThis is Dr. Leticia Wright with IDC Dating.com. IDC Dating.com is where we're creating multicultural relationships everyday. Our podcast today is with Rocky Fino. He is our sexy chef who is the author of "Will Cook for Sex." He's got a great dating book on how to have great meals for your lady without being the best chef ever. Today, we're going to talk about what Rocky?
Rocky Fino:We're going to do a little Veal Shank.
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Dr. WrightOkay. Rocky's Break Away Veal Shank.
Rocky Fino:You got it.
Rocky Fino:This is a break away meal.
Dr. WrightIt's a break away meal.
Rocky Fino:No, but I mean it's a breakaway meal cause this is one that we've talked about a number of simple dishes and this one is combining a couple of simple techniques and putting together a very elegant dish.
Dr. WrightOkay. So this would be a nice night in, but maybe a little bit special occasion.
Rocky Fino:Yeah. This one has got a little special occasion on it.
Rocky Fino:Starting with the veal shank itself which you're not going to find, you do need to go to one of the better grocery stores that have a better meat department. Sometimes they carry the veal.
Dr. WrightThey have a real butcher there.
Rocky Fino:Yeah. You are looking for the veal shank. Beef shanks don't work as well.
Rocky Fino:They're tougher. It really works better with a veal shank.
Rocky Fino:What a veal shank is, is a crosscut. What you're going to see is a round piece of meat, the meat counter with the bone right in the middle.
Rocky Fino:So, it's crosscut of the leg section so...
Dr. WrightThat's what we always see in cartoons.
Rocky Fino:You got it. That's right.
Dr. WrightDr. Wright gives a veal shank.
Rocky Fino:You are so down, you are on the culinary edge.
Dr. WrightOkay. So we're shopping for our veal shank. Of course you want it fresh. How much fat is on there? What are we looking at?
Rocky Fino:You're not worried about that. You're looking for a fresh shank. You're very (inaudible). Again, it's veal. It's lighter than a beef. If you find a veal shank, they're going to be probably most likely fresh cause you're going to find them at one of the upper better grocery stores.
Rocky Fino:Now, let us do our shopping list. So we're going to pick up a couple of veal shanks. Two shanks, one per pair would be fine. If you're going to make this meal, throw a third in there cause good chance the two of you are going to go for it. Good chance you're going to go for a little seconds. If you don't, it makes a great leftover the next day.
Rocky Fino:You're going to get an 8-ounce package of egg noodles.
Rocky Fino:They're the little kind of fat curly ones.
Rocky Fino:Some fresh basil, one of those little plastic packets you will see up in the herb section. An onion. Just a yellow onion, medium-sized yellow onion. You will need some chicken broth, about two cups, which is about 16 ounces.
Rocky Fino:Some tomatoes, approximately about four medium tomatoes. You can use roma tomatoes or the nice ripe red tomatoes on the vine.
Rocky Fino:About a quarter cup of flour. So you probably have olive oil. Olive oil should be in your cupboard all the time.
Dr. WrightOlive oil is just...
Rocky Fino:If you're running low on olive oil, the veal shank is out. Take a quarter cup of flour on a plate and we're going to lightly flour the shanks. So you're basically going to drop them and dredge them on each side in the flour.
Rocky Fino:Then pat it off. We're talking of lightly floured and not heavy floured so you just pat off the...
Dr. WrightThe extra.
Rocky Fino:Extra. Now, in one pan, in a medium-sized skillet, we're going to add about a tablespoon of oil.
Rocky Fino:Preheat the pan and add a tablespoon of oil. As it gets a little hot, we're going to add our onions. We're going to soften our onions, it takes about three or four minutes over medium to high heat.
Dr. WrightWhen we soften the onions, meaning they just turn that translucent color.
Rocky Fino:Yeah. They turn that translucent color. We're just going to soften. You don't want to overdo them.
Dr. WrightSee, I'm learning.
Rocky Fino:You're doing good. You're getting the hang of it. There we go. Now, you can do these two ways. You could have another medium-sized pan with the other two tablespoons of olive oil heated where we can add our shanks.
Rocky Fino:Or you can take the onions, remove them from the heat onto a plate and then work your shanks in that same...
Dr. WrightSame oil. Okay.
Rocky Fino:Same pan. We're going to add oil but use the same pan.
Rocky Fino:So now that we've soften our onion, let's remove that onion from the heat. Now, heat up two more tablespoons of oil in that skillet and we're going to add our three veal shanks.
Rocky Fino:What we're trying to do here is we're just browning the shanks on each side.
Dr. WrightJust barely.
Rocky Fino:You're browning them and people ask why do you brown them before you simmer? For two reasons, one texture, two appearance.
Rocky Fino:They look better. There is something about having the brown crispy edge when you're done. It looks better as opposed to if you just went straight to a simmer. They just kind of look very pale.
Dr. WrightVery pale and pink. Yeah.
Rocky Fino:Yeah. So, we're going to brown our shanks in the oil on each side which is just going to take approximately three to five minutes each side.
Rocky Fino:Now, we're going to take a deeper sauce pan.
Dr. WrightOkay. A deeper actual saucepan, not a frying pan.
Rocky Fino:Not a frying pan, but a saucepan that can fit. It needs to fit the three shanks, the onions, and then we're going to add the chopped tomatoes.
Rocky Fino:The 4-inch deep pan would be fine.
Dr. WrightPut that in there?
Rocky Fino:Now that we've heated up, now we've brown our shanks, we're going to transfer the shanks into this sauce pan. Add our onions. Add our chicken broth. You are going to pour in the chicken broth. You're basically looking for the chicken broth just about to cover the meat because the shanks are actually going to cook. They're going to simmer in that broth.
Rocky Fino:Browning them has done nothing but brown them. We haven't really cooked much of the meat. We're going to simmer these in the pot.
Rocky Fino:Then, we're also going to add, we're going to chop our tomatoes into about 0.5-inch squares also. Add those into the pot. So we've got our shanks, our softened onions, our chopped raw tomatoes, and our chicken broth in the pot.
Dr. WrightAll in this pot. Okay.
Rocky Fino:All in this pot.
Dr. WrightWe're going to simmer it for how long?
Rocky Fino:You're going to bring it to a boil first.
Rocky Fino:Bring the heat to a boil and then lower and simmer. Put a cover and simmer until tender which is actually going to be around 2 hours.... The aggressive cooking time is about 20 minutes of chopping and browning which you've done in advance when you got home earlier and you got that going earlier and then you've got them in the simmer pot, now you've got time to do other things but it's done exactly that. Now, while that is simmering, when she comes over and opens the door, pow, that smell is just going to catch her like wow, something good is going on in the kitchen.
Dr. WrightExcellent. So we're simmering it for two hours. Where exactly does our egg noodles or do our egg noodles come in?
Rocky Fino:That's coming in right now. While it is simmering, you do add some salt and pepper to taste. That is basically add a little salt to the broth mixture and then just take a spoon and give it a taste to make sure you've got...use your judgment on that.
Rocky Fino:Now, as we're simmering this with about 15 to 20 minutes to go before our shanks are going to be ready, we're going to do our pasta. Pasta is similar to what we talked about before. We're going to add some water to a saucepan, probably about 3 ounces. We're going to add probably 2 quarts of water.
Rocky Fino:I always like to add to my pasta, when I'm doing my pasta water, I always add salt to the water.
Dr. WrightSalt to the water will do what?
Rocky Fino:It adds flavor to the pasta.
Rocky Fino:The water becomes part of the sauce.
Rocky Fino:Now, it adds flavor to the pasta and then I add a little oil to the water.
Dr. WrightOkay. A little olive oil.
Rocky Fino:A little olive oil. A tablespoon or two. What that does is it keeps the pasta from sticking.
Rocky Fino:So you bring that water to a boil and then follow the directions on the back with the egg noodles. You put those into a rolling boil and you let those boil for about 6 to 8 minutes. Test them. It has always been my method on when you're pasta is done.
Rocky Fino:You pull a noodle out and you bite it to make sure it is soft all the way through. You don't want to overcook them but you got time with an egg noodle.
Rocky Fino:It's not like an angel hair pasta. That is a very sensitive pasta and egg noodles are thicker pasta. There is some leeway there.
Dr. WrightOkay. Great.
Rocky Fino:Again, just pull a noodle and taste every so often.
Dr. WrightThen we will be rinsing that or pouring the water out?
Rocky Fino:Yeah. Here is how we do this. Now, when the pasta is done, we're going to drain the water out of the pot.
Rocky Fino:But just keep a touch of the water in there.
Rocky Fino:A lot of people go to the colander and dump it all out.
Dr. WrightExactly. That's what I've seen all my life.
Rocky Fino:All your life you see the colander. Take a lid, hold the lid, drain it, but leave a little water in there. Keep it moist.
Rocky Fino:Now, while the pasta is boiling, you can do this prior to, best to do it prior to so your pasta doesn't sit. If your pasta sits for a while, it can get sticky.
Rocky Fino:So while our pasta was boiling, our shanks have now completed their simmer. Remove the shanks onto a plate and cover. Take the brothy mixture of the broth, onions, and tomatoes that is left in the sauce pan and we're going to put that in a blender.
Rocky Fino:We're going to transfer that to a blender. You're always wondering in a restaurant, you're like "How do they get such a nice creamy sauce?"
Rocky Fino:The blender is a magical tool.
Dr. WrightThe blender magic.
Rocky Fino:Yeah. It's blender magic. We've now got our onion, tomato, and broth. We put it in the blender, blend for 15 seconds. Add a little salt to taste as you taste it and you've got now your smooth sauce.
Rocky Fino:So, take that blender and now that you've got your noodle, preferably you've got this done just before your noodles are finished.
Rocky Fino:So now when you dump your noodles and you kept a little water in there, add a touch of the sauce and stir to coat your noodles.
Rocky Fino:This way your noodles don't sit and get sticky.
Rocky Fino:You've added a little sauce to coat the noodles that are sitting in the pan.
Dr. WrightAll right. But most of it is still in the blender, right?
Rocky Fino:You still got most of the sauce in the blender but you've added enough sauce to where the noodles are coated so they're not going to get gummy and sticky together.
Rocky Fino:Now, we take out plate or plates. Add a base of the noodles. You could use a bowl or a plate that has a rim.
Dr. WrightOkay. We don't want our flattest plate.
Rocky Fino:A flattest plate is not going to work real well because the noodles are going to spread out.
Rocky Fino:So a nice pasta bowl is always good. Growing up Italian, I had pasta bowls. They're the shallow wider style bowl, but use either like a plate that has got a nice rim on it or any bowl that is wide enough to hold some noodles with the size of the shank. Add our noodles to the bowl and then take our blender full of sauce. Add sauce to our noodles. Now you're pouring your sauce around the noodles.
Rocky Fino:Take one of the shanks, place it right on top of the bed of the noodles.
Rocky Fino:Then the final step, take your basil and trim the leaves off of the stems.
Dr. WrightOkay. So no stems, just leaves.
Rocky Fino:Just the leaves, and then just thinly slice the leaves and sprinkle over the shank.
Dr. WrightThe fresh basil gives a great aroma on top of that.
Rocky Fino:It is got the aroma, it's got the flavor. Now take one extra sprig of that basil, slide it into the side of the bowl for decoration and serve.
Dr. WrightWow. That was very easy, yet delicious. That's going to be a meal that somebody will be talking about for a long, long time.
Rocky Fino:This is one that she goes home and calls her friend and says "It's like "you won't believe what I had for dinner."
Dr. WrightThat is awesome. It was such a simple meal but I can just tell the flavors combined together are going to be awesome.
Rocky Fino:They're awesome. The only trick to this one is you got to start a little on the early side getting them simmering.
Rocky Fino:It is not like when she walks in the door and you are now going to get started cause you're three hours from eating. The little preparation time that afternoon knowing you're going to get the simmer going early and like we talked about before, when that's simmering for the hour and a half before she walks...
Dr. WrightSauce pan and what a delicious way to have an elegant dinner. This particular dinner was an upscale dinner and this is Dr. Leticia Wright for IDC Dating.com. IDC Dating is where we're creating multicultural relationships everyday. Thanks for joining us and I'll see you next time. Remember, ignoring one's conscience is neither safe nor right.