Braised Pork Shin with Saffron Mashed Potatoes

Continuing on my trip through the highlights of Simon Hopkinson’s The Good Cook, this week’s choice is back on form. Hopkinson at his best, with an Anglicisation of an Italian classic – Osso Buco with Saffron Risotto.

Braised Pork Shin with Saffron Mashed Potatoes substitutes cheap, easily obtainable pork shin for veal shin, and potatoes for rice. The white wine braise is very much like in Osso Buco recipes. The resultant sauce is a match made in heaven for the saffron flavoured mash, and a slightly tweaked gremolata gives the whole assemblage a fresh, slightly acidic lift.

Anyhow, last week I ordered the pork and asked the butcher to cut it thickly across the shin, through the bone. I collected this pile of meat this afternoon:

I ordered enough for two people, and was told it would cost about £5. I got enough for six people, plus trotters and bones which I can use for stock or adding flavour to gravies. And it cost just £6!

So, with the excess bagged up and in the freezer, the ingredients for the recipe looked like this:

25g butter
2tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 chunky pieces of pork shin (osso buco), approx. 750-850g
a little flour
1 onion, finely chopped
at least half a bottle of drinkable, dry white wine (as this has so few ingredients in the braise, treat yourself to something that isn’t plonk)
a touch of lemon juice
2-3 sprigs of sage

for the saffron mashed potatoes
750g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1tsp saffron threads
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed to a paste with a little salt
75-100ml extra virgin olive oil

for the gremolata
zest from half a small orange (I used all the zest from a mandarin)
a small handful of parsley sprigs
1 small clove of garlic, peeled and bruised

Once more I’m not going to copy out the full method; you should treat youself to this cookbook, there’s so much good stuff there.

But to give you an idea of the method, you flour and fry the pork, gently fry the onions until coloured, then braise the meat in wine, onions, sage and lemon juice. For the mash, everything but the potatoes is infused and stirred into the mash. The gremolata is scattered over the meat when served.

I’ll add a couple of tips of my own to Hopkinson’s recipe. Make sure you cut the skin and any big chunks of fat from the pieces of shin before flouring and frying. And, although Hopkinson says the meat shouldn’t take much more than 90 minutes to cook, I’d go for more like two hours as I like my meat really tender.

And I’ve got two more attempts to get this recipe 100% to my taste sitting in the freezer. I don’t think they’ll be there for long.

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