Slow Cooker Saucy Italian Pork Shanks with White Beans and Sage
Veal and lamb shanks can be expensive so why not try a classic Italian braise with pork shanks which can be half, if not more than half, the price. The problem is finding them at a regular supermarket. D&D Market in West Hartford (www.danddmarket.com), which has an Italian butcher shop carries them. One shank will overfeed one person. But if you want to feed a crowd, make this recipe using four shanks but 1 ½ every thing else. When the shanks are done, let cool and pull the meat off in chunks. This can be added to the beans and re-cooked in a casserole dish topped with breadcrumbs and parsley.
Feeds 4 very large appetites or 8 normal ones. Yields 8 cups of beans with sauce.
6 ½ quart Slow Cooker (adjust amounts for smaller cooker)
shanks (about 6 pounds-with bone)
4 tablespoons pure olive oil or canola oil
1 16–ounce bag of dried white beans (cannellini, navy, or great northern)
1 ½ cups diced onion
1 ½ cups diced carrot
½ cup diced celery
10-12 garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground sage
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup white wine
2 cups beef broth
Trim the pork shanks of any extra fat. Sprinkle heavily with salt and pepper. Heat a 12 in sauté pan over medium high heat until hot. Add the olive oil and then the pork shanks. Brown on all sides for about 15 minutes or until well browned.
Add all the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Place the pork shanks on top and push down till at least 2/3 covered. Add some water to make sure the beans are well covered with liquid. Cook on low for 8 hours our until the beans are very tender and the pork falling off the bone. Periodically check to make sure the beans are submerged. Add additional water or stock if needed.