4lbs. pork shanks, tied with string to help them hold their shape if needed, I prefer R Family Farms pork shanks for this recipe
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2small yellow onions, cut into quarters
3large carrots, cut into thirds
3celery stalks, cut into thirds
smidgen of red pepper flakes
1cupdry white wine
1cupfresh Italian parsleyminced
zest of 2 lemons
2clovesgarliccrushed and minced well
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepperto taste
1 1/2cupsmedium-grind yellow cornmeal
6cupschicken or vegetable broth
To Make the Osso Bucco (Pork Shanks)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Season the pork shanks liberally kosher salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, place the vegetables into the bowl of a food processor, pulsing 10-12 times until the vegetables are are a coarse paste. (Be sure not to over process the vegetables into a puree - they should have a bit of chunky texture to them.)
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the oil; when the oil is hot, add the seasoned pork shanks, browning them well on all sides in the hot oil. When the shanks are nicely browned, remove them to platter. Discard the oil in the Dutch oven, making sure to keep all of the browned bit in the bottom of the pot (these are gold!).
Over medium-high heat, add a bit of olive oil again to the Dutch oven; when the oil is nicely hot, add the vegetables to the pot, letting them get nicely browned, only stirring occasionally; add the red pepper flakes and season the vegetables with a bit of kosher salt and pepper, to taste.
Once the vegetables are browned, stir in the tomato paste, letting it cook with the vegetables until it begins to brown. Now, deglaze the pot with the wine to loosen all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot, gently stirring it into the vegetable mixture; let the wine cook down until reduced to about half.
Return the reserved, browned pork shanks to the Dutch oven; pour in the hot broth, then add water if needed, to bring the liquid in the pot up to the meat's shoulders. Bring the liquid to a boil, then add the bay leaves and cover the pot with the lid.
Transfer the pork to the preheated oven, letting the pork cook for 1 hour. After the first hour, check the pork to see if more liquid needs to be added to the pot; cook one more hour, then remove the lid and let the pork cook uncovered for the last 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the gremolata and the polenta.
Gently remove the osso bucco to a serving platter. Skim the fat from the surface of the of the sauce, then adjust the seasonings to taste.
To serve, ladle the warm polenta into four shallow serving bowls, topping each one with the pork osso bucco, cutting the strings around each one. Spoon a bit of the sauce in the pot over the pork, then garnish with the gremolata.
To Make the Gremolata
To make the gremolata, combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl; season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.
To Make the Creamy Polenta
Prepare the polenta in a large sauce pan over medium heat; add the broth and the cornmeal, stirring to combine over medium-high heat. Add the salt and bring the polenta to a boil; immediately reduce the heat to medium or medium-low, letting the polenta simmer, partially covered with a lid, until it becomes soft, smooth and nicely thickend, approx. 25-30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, butter and Parmesan; adjust the seasonings to taste before serving.