I’ve already covered the basic veal shank stew here. Don’t make the same mistake I once did and buy beef shanks which are tougher than veal shanks. Beef shanks make a great beef broth and the left over meat can be turned into a spinach, ricotta, meat pie. For a stew, however, you are better working with veal. The gentle sweetness of dried apricots and cardamom teams up well with the pale, tender veal. There is no need to add a stock to this stew. The bones add enough gelatine to make the stew thick and they add bags of savouriness that gives this dish the extra edge. You can serve this meal alongside either mashed potatoes, roast potatoes or mixed roasted winter vegetables. Any left overs can be turned into a delicious pie – one of my daughter’s favourites.
6 veal shanks
250 gr. apricots
1 large onion
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks cut small
2-3 small yellow turnips (peeled and cubed). Optional
The seeds from 7-8 cardamom pods
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
Salt & Pepper
Fry the onion, carrots and celery in some lard or beef drippings on a medium heat. When they have turned tender add the cubed turnips. When the turnips have softened add the spices turning the heat down so that they don’t burn. Next, add the beef shanks and brown on both sides for around five minutes. If you like your apricots whole add them to the stew whole. If you prefer the apricots to melt into the stew in order to form part of the pleasing gravy cut them into small pieces before adding them into the pot. Finally add enough water to reach approx. 3 cm above the veal shanks. Put in a pre-heated oven and cook on a low heat of 150 degrees centigrade for anywhere from 2-4 hours. If the sauce is still too runny thicken it with either some plain flour or arrow root. Before serving season with salt and pepper.