Slow Roasted Veal Shanks

Veal shanks are so tender when cooked long and slow. A little care at the pre-cooking phase will make them even more melting and tender

By salting the shanks with kosher salt ahead of cooking, the moisture is drawn out onto the surface of the meat and dissolves the salt with the resulting brine then reabsorbed into the meat. This breaks down the proteins in the muscle and the meat will be juicier and more tender.

This pre-salting can be applied to the preparation of all kinds of meat before cooking. Forty minutes of dry salting with pepper at room temperature can benefit the cooking of any meat.

Veal shanks need to be baked long and slow with other vegetables and herbs to flavour the meat.

I have also included the recipe for mushroom sauce to serve with your delicious, tender shanks. By cooking the mushrooms separately without salt they remain fleshy and can be added into the thickened sauce made from the flavourful pan juices.

Serve the slow roasted veal shanks with the baked carrots, mushroom sauce and polenta or mashed potatoes.

Slow Roasted Veal Shanks


Veal Shanks:

  • 2 Veal Shanks
  • 1 1/2 medium carrots, chopped coarsely
  • 1 half stalk celery, leaves removed, and using the narrower upper part
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped + 1/2 onion chopped roughly for the marinade
  • Kosher Salt (or Sea Salt flakes)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine + enough dry white wine to cover the shanks in a 1L plastic container
  • 1 Tblsp brandy
  • 2 Tblsp Olive oil
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 3 large sage leaves + 1 extra leaf roughly torn for the marinade
  • 1 stem of fresh rosemary, sprigs removed
  • 1 bay leaf

Mushroom Sauce:

  • 200 g mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 stems of fresh thyme, leaves only, stripped from the stems
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh parsley, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 1/2 tsp McCormick’s Chicken seasoning (or other similar)
  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt
  • 1 Tblsp Chicken Stock powder
  • 2 tsp cornflour and 2 Tblsp of water to dissolve


1. Pre-heat oven to 150 C Fan Forced

2. Sprinkle sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper all over the veal shanks and rub in and leave it at room temperature for half an hour.

3. Into a 1L container, place the shanks, 1/4 onion sliced thickly, half a celery stalk top end sliced and half a carrot chopped roughly and scatter over shanks.

4. Pour enough dry white wine to cover the shanks and vegetables so that they are submerged in the wine and rest overnight in the fridge.

5. Next day remove and dry shanks with paper towel.

6. Place marinade and vegetables into a saucepan, bring to boil and boil at a rolling boil for 2 minutes. This is important to make the marinade safe to use in the rest of the baking

7. Place 2 Tblsp olive oil and a knob of butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. When the butter stops foaming add the chopped onion and cook covered for 10 minutes till well caramelised, adding a little hot water from time to time to stop the onion catching. When cooked set aside

8. Place 2 Tblsp of olive oil and a knob of butter In a saucepan. When the butter stops foaming sear the shanks until well coloured

9. When well browned carefully pour over the wine and brandy. Cook for 3 minutes then remove the shanks to a baking dish.

10. Scatter the caramelised onion, carrots, rosemary sprigs, sage leaves, bay leaf and garlic cloves with their skin

11. De-glaze the pan with the marinade liquid and vegetables and pour into the baking dish adding a little hot water if needed to make sure the baking dish is covered with liquid

12. Cover tightly with foil and place into the pre-heated oven

13. After an hour, carefully remove foil, turn the shanks and baste them with pan juices, cover tightly and return to oven. Repeat at 2 hours.

14. Bake at 150 C for 3 hours. Then remove the baking pan with the veal shanks from the oven

15. Set the carrots aside covered and keep warm.

16. Place the shanks to rest on a plate, covered well with aluminium foil while preparing the mushroom sauce

17. Remove the bay leaf from the baking pan. Then pass the pan juices through a sieve into a clean saucepan. Push the cooked celery and onion and herbs through the sieve into the pan juices in the saucepan and stir through well ( the fibrous parts left behind can be discarded)

18. Into the saucepan of pan juices, add a good amount of ground black pepper, the chicken seasoning, and the chicken stock powder and simmer

19. Dissolve the teaspoon of cornflour in 2 Tblsp of water in small glass, then add to the pan juices to thicken, simmering for a couple of minutes to the consistency that pleases you. Then, to keep the mushrooms fleshy, quickly cook them separately with the herbs as follows

20. Heat 1 Tblsp of olive oil in a small skillet over a moderate high heat, then add the sliced mushrooms, chopped parsley and thyme leaves and cook quickly, stirring for 3 minutes only.

21. Add the mushrooms to the thickened sauce and keep warm to serve with the shanks.

22. Serve the baked veal shanks with the carrots and the mushroom sauce and polenta or mashed potatoes

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