Braised veal shanks with polenta

Braised veal shanks with polenta

I love sucking on the bones of the veal shanks to get the marrow out. The braise is made lighter by using chicken stock instead of veal stock — I prefer that to a sticky braise.


  • 1.25 kg (2 lb 12 oz) veal shanks, cut osso bucco style
  • 1 tablespoon plain (all-purpose) flour, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • Sea salt
  • 120 g (41/4 oz/1 cup) Ligurian olives
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (concentrated purée)
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) white wine
  • 400 g (14 oz) tinned tomatoes, juice reserved, roughly chopped
  • 750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) chicken stock (page 245)
  • 4 bay leaves, fresh if available
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • Soft polenta
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lemon


Toss the veal shanks in the seasoned flour. Heat some oil in a large, heavy-based pan and cook the shanks until browned all over, then remove from the pan.

Heat more oil in the pan if necessary and add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot and a pinch of sea salt and cook over medium heat until the onion is soft. Stir in the olives, tomato paste, lemon and orange zests, wine, tomato and its juice, stock, bay leaves, thyme and browned shanks.

Simmer very slowly, covered, for 1 hour. Remove the lid and simmer uncovered for a further 45 minutes, or until the meat is falling off the bone. Check the seasoning and add more sea salt if necessary.

Place a spoonful of polenta on the side of four large bowls, spoon the shank mixture on and give a good grind of pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

NOTES: First published in Neil’s cookbook Good Food.

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  • Serves

    Serves 4, or 8 as part of a shared Asian banquet