braised pork osso bucco served on polenta next to a glass of wine

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Why I love this braised pork shank recipe

It’s been a while since we had Friday Night Dinner, hasn’t it? Don’t worry. It’s not going away. We’ve just been plagued with sickness and I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired as of late.

I’m sure it has something to do with the post holiday blues and the weather – January was a pretty gloomy month this year. But, this pork osso buco has brought me back from the darkness, because it is nothing short of perfection.

[Season 1, Episode 11: Paris is Burning] Max makes Lorelai osso buco, and she proceeds to sit on the counter eating it while he’s cleaning up. Even though they’ve broken up by the end of the episode, I find the idea of this osso buco recipe charmingly romantic, and I think it would be perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Follow this meal up with a Gilmore Girls inspired dessert: chocolate pudding / mini baked alaska / blueberry shortcake / apple tarts

closeup of braised pork shanks for an osso buco recipe

Here’s what you’ll need to make it

closeup of braised pork shank osso buco served with polenta

Now let’s talk ingredients:

Pork shanks I had a braised pork shank at a restaurant earlier in the year and it was amazing, so when I decided to remake my osso buco, I knew pork would be a perfect candidate. It took me a while to find pork shanks, but it was really just a matter of calling around to find them.

I got my pork shanks, which are also called fresh pork hocks, at the butcher. They are super long and huge, so I asked them to cut them in half so they would more more “osso buco” in style. If you can’t find them in store you definitely find them at an online butcher.

White wine – Don’t forget that not all wine is dairy free! Read more about it in my article about vegan wine. We used a sauvignon blanc in this recipe, but any dry white wine that you like will work great.

How to make pork osso bucco

Prep the pork shanks. Start by tying your pork shanks with kitchen twine. You don’t have to do this, but as the meat braises, it will eventually start to fall apart and it will be harder to serve.

Cut two lengths of kitchen twine per shank and wrap it around the meat – as pictured – tying it as tightly as you can. You want it to be tight so that the strings will stay tight even as the pork shanks shrink while they’re cooking.

Then, liberally season the pork with salt and pepper. Don’t go easy on this, this is your only chance to season the meat and each pork shank is big, so you need a lot!

Sear the meat. Heat your biggest pot to medium-high. Let it get nice and hot then add the pork shanks and sear them until they’re golden brown and slightly crispy. You will probably want to work in batches so you have lots of space to encourage browning.

You shouldn’t need oil for this because the pork is already fatty enough. If you’ve seared the pork well, it will release on it’s own. When they’re browned on all sides, remove the seared shanks and set them aside on a plate.

Sauté the vegetables. Leave any rendered fat in the pan and add the olive oil. Allow it to warm up and sauté the onion, celery and carrots with a pinch of salt. Stir them as needed, cooking until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes.

Simmer until tender. Add the tomato paste and white wine to the pot and deglaze all the flavorful brown bits from the bottom and sides. Then, add the herbs and chicken broth.

Return the pork shanks to the pot and put the lid on. Bring it to a low boil and reduce the heat to low. Let the osso buco simmer for about 3 1/2 hours. I usually start checking at about hour three.

At this point, the pork should be starting to fall off the bone and super tender. Remove the lid and allow the sauce to thicken for the final 30 minutes of cooking.

Garnish and serve. I served my pork osso bucco with a simple gremolata – really just a garnish of lemon zest and fresh parsley – and simple creamy polenta. You could totally do mashed potatoes, but you’ll definitely want a side that goes well with gravy/juices because there’s a crazy amount of flavor there.

overhead image dutch oven with 6 braised pork shanks with osso buco vegetables

FAQS and tips for making the best pork osso buco

What cut of meat is osso bucco?

Osso buco is traditionally made with veal shanks. However, oxtail and beef shanks is commonly used, and this recipe uses pork shanks instead of veal.

What does osso buco mean?

Osso buco means bone hole in Italian – referring to the marrow inside the veal shanks that are typically used in osso bucco. However, the dish itself has become well known and is often used to refer to the cooking method, regardless of the type of meat used.

Do you eat the marrow in osso buco?

Yes. You can absolutely eat the marrow from osso buco. It’s full of flavor and contributes so much to the dish.

Are pork hocks and shanks the same?

Although they aren’t technically the same thing, I have found that many butchers use the terms interchangeably. Pork hocks tend to be smoked and sold as ham hocks, so if you’re shopping for shanks, and can only find hocks, they will work as long as they are fresh and not smoked.

3 plates of braised pork osso bucco served with polenta

More Gilmore Girls inspired recipes:

If you like this pork osso buco, try these pork recipes:

Print

Braised Pork Osso Bucco

Can’t find veal shanks? Try using pork instead! This slow braised pork osso bucco recipe is exactly what a pork shank needs and you’ll still get those traditional osso buco flavors.

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Braising
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale
  • 46 pork shanks
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 carrots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 sprigs each: fresh rosemary and thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Zest from 1 lemon, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Season the shanks with salt & pepper. Brown the shanks until golden and crispy. Remove from pan.
  2. Add olive oil, onion, celery, carrots and a pinch of salt. Sauté stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and vegetables have softened – about 5 minutes.
  3. Add wine and tomato paste, deglazing the pan. Add the chicken broth and return the pork shanks to the pan.
  4. Cover and bring to a low boil, then immediately reduce the heat to love and simmer for 3 – 3.5 hours. Remove lid for the final 20 – 30 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  5. Discard the bay leaf and herb stems, and garnish with lemon zest and fresh parsley before serving.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 shank
  • Calories: 432
  • Sugar: 24.5 g
  • Sodium: 5259 mg
  • Fat: 6.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 50.1 g
  • Fiber: 14 g
  • Protein: 42.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 94.1 mg

Keywords: dairy free, egg free, gluten free, pork

Last Updated on November 12, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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7 Comments

  1. While I prefer veal Osso Bucco, this was very delicious. I made it the day before I wanted to serve it so that I could remove the solid fat that normally form on the top from refrigerating. I served with buttered, parsleyed pasta. One note, in your recipe above, you neglected to add the herbs to the pot in your instructions. Less experienced cooks might be confused by its exclusion.

    1. I was definitely confused as to when to add the herbs! Good thing I wasn’t too late. Otherwise, this recipe is delicious.

  2. I made this and it was delicious! The only thing I did differently was add a little brown sugar to cut some of the spicy. We all loved it!

  3. I am looking forward to making this dish, but I cannot help to point out that osso buco is not Italian for braised veal, no matter what google translate says. Osso is bone and buco is hole. The marrow in the hole of the bone is the star of the show in Italy……where I lived for some years.