Moroccan Braised Veal Shanks

Some friends came to dinner the other night, and I needed to make something that met both their dietary habits and my desire not to have leftovers that have too much fat for me to eat. One of my principles is to only make food that I can eat – and that includes leftovers in the freezer for lunches and hasty dinners.  My friends don’t eat gluten and most starches, including potatoes and rice, and I, of course, focus on low fat eating.  I was beginning to feel like that nursery rhyme about “Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean.”

I started the meal with roasted cherry tomatoes over goat cheese and baby greens.

I am really enamored of these roasted cherry tomatoes.  I make them every couple of weeks and spoon them hot over chicken or fish, or most frequently cold on good bread or crackers spread with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge and topped with the tomatoes.

I really felt like making something Moroccan, but had to find a recipe that wasn’t heavy on fruit and honey, which are so typical of this North African cuisine. These braised veal shanks were perfect, and they even contain sweet potato, which is one of my friend’s favorite dishes (and one of the few starches she still eats.)  Instead of serving it over couscous, which would be its more usual presentation, I made a wild rice pilaf, which I will post later. Wild rice is actually a grass, and not in the same category as wheat and other grains.

This recipe, originally from Cooking Light, kind of puzzled me, because the serving size math seemed to be wrong. It called for 4 pounds of veal shanks. Even if there were a pound of bone in the veal shanks, that still leaves about 48 ounces of meat. But the recipe said it made six 3 ounce servings, which is mathematically impossible. That would only be 18 ounces of meat, total, and this made much more.  I used cross-cut veal shanks, which may have been a bit meatier, even after the fat was trimmed away, although many pieces had only a little meat.

The finished braised veal filled one of my largest pans.

I estimate that there were easily 12 servings – I’m going to be eating the leftovers forever – yum.

Moroccan Braised Veal Shanks

Spice rub:
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 (16-ounce) veal shanks (because I used cross-cut shanks, I just purchased 4 lbs., rather than 4 shanks.

Remaining ingredients:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cups chopped onion (I chopped the onion, celery, and carrot in the food processor)
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup diced carrot
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic cloves
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash or sweet potato (I used sweet potato)
4 carrots, cut into 1-inch-thick pieces (about 8 ounces)
1 14 ounce can drained canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
4 teaspoons (or more) chopped fresh mint (optional) for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare spice rub, combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Trim fat from veal; rub surface of veal with spice rub. Set aside.

Heat oil in a (very) large Dutch oven or large heavy stockpot over medium-high heat. Add veal; cook 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Add onion, celery, diced carrot, garlic, and ginger; cover, reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 1 teaspoon turmeric, paprika, and coriander. Add broth, wine, juice, and tomato paste, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return veal to pan; bring to a boil. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Turn shanks; add squash, carrot pieces, and chick peas. Cover and bake an additional 45 minutes or until veal shreds easily with a fork. Remove veal from pan, and remove meat from bones.  Return veal to pan  and stir into other ingredients.

Serve veal and vegetable mixture over couscous or other pilaf. Garnish with mint, if desired. Makes 12 servings at about 6 grams of fat/serving.

Veal with wild rice pilaf


1 Response to “Moroccan Braised Veal Shanks”

  1. 1 Wild Rice Pilaf « The Perpetual Feast Trackback on March 22, 2011 at 5:13 am

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I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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