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Clarkston Union's braised pork shanks and kraut

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Pork shanks take time but when done properly come out incredibly tender and add richness to their cooking liquid that is tough to match.

The first part of this recipe can be done a day in advance to speed up the time needed to serve the dish.  To do this simply stop at the 3.5 hour mark then strain the liquid and return the shanks to it before cooling them for the next day.  Then you just warm up the whole batch, set the shanks aside and reduce the liquid before serving.

Braised Pork Shank

4 ea Pork Shanks
¼ cup Flour
½ cup Vegetable oil
2 ea  Carrots
1 ea Fennel Bulb
1 ea Onion
8 ea Clove Garlic, peeled
1 tbl Olive Oil
1 tbl Black peppercorn
8 ea Whole Cloves, spice
2 ea Bay Leaves
3 tbl Tomato Paste
6 sprig Thyme, fresh
1 pt Oskar Blues, Dales Pale Ale
2 qt Chicken Stock
T.T. Kosher Salt and Ground black pepper

1. Large dice the carrot, onion and fennel and toss with the garlic cloves and olive oil.  Roast in the oven at 425°f for about 10 minutes until everything is nicely browned.  Add Tomato paste and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
2. Salt and pepper the Pork Shank and lightly cover in flour.  Heat vegetable oil on high in a pan big enough to accommodate all four shanks and brown the shanks on all sides being careful not to burn what sticks to the pan.  When browned remove from pan and set aside.
3. Add vegetables along with the remaining herbs and spices to the pan and sauté briefly.  Then add the beer and bring up to a simmer while scraping the bottom of the pan to release the fond.
4. Add shanks back into the pan then cover with chicken stock.
5. Simmer Shanks partially covered for 3.5 hours. Remove shanks from the liquid and cover to hold on the side.
6. Strain liquid and return to stove.  Reduce by at least half until the liquid becomes a thick sauce.  Then adjust the flavor with salt and pepper and return the shanks to the liquid.
7. Serve atop home-made Purple Kraut and your favorite mashed potatoes.

Purple Kraut

2 heads Red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 ea Onion, thinly sliced
1 tbl Vegetable oil
1.75 cup Apple cider vinegar
1 cup Apple cider
1 cup Water            
8 tblsp Caraway seeds
1/4 cup Kosher salt

1. Heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent.
2. Add caraway seeds and continue to sauté until they release their aroma.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 2 hours or until the liquid is mostly cooked off.
4. Set aside to use as is or add other flavor components to such as dried fruit or herbs depending on the application.

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