Holiday Cooking at the Del Monte

John Freezee is the executive chef at the Renaissance Del Monte Lodge Hotel in Pittsford, and he has one idea for your holiday meal.

It's a signature dish at the Del Monte called braised Berkshire pork shank.

Braising involves browning the meat, then simmering it in it's juices. It renders a tough meat more tender.

Chef Freezee explains how it's made: "We're going to start by plating our potato parsnip puree. It's very light. We do it with Pittsford Farm's heavy cream, then set the pork shank right in here. You can see it has a really striking presentation for the plante. Now we're going to hit with the arugula. We've got our really sweet melted leeks that were slowly simmered in butter and water, and just a touch of salt. It really gives it a nice onion flavor. We're going to hit it with our brazing liquid, which we cooked down to a syrup and fortified with a little red wine, so it's really thick and rich. We're going to add some sundried tomatoes and we finish off with a little bit of crispy potato nests."

The finished product - Braised pork shanks with sauteed arugula, melted leeks, parsnip potato puree and cabernet pork jus.

Here is the full recipe:

Braised Pork Shanks
With Cabernet Pork Jus
John Freezee
From The Erie Grill at
The Del Monte Lodge Hotel and Spa
Serves 4

4- 16-18oz. Pork Shanks   
1 Large White Onion coarsely chopped
2 Carrots peeled and diced
2 Stalks Celery washed and chopped
8 Cloves of Garlic peeled and crushed
2 Bay Leaves
2 Sprigs of Thyme
1 Sprig of Rosemary
12 Black Peppercorns
Bottle of your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon
12 oz. Veal or Chicken stock
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Cold Butter
Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

Heat a heavy bottom pot or Dutch Oven to medium high.
Season Pork Shanks liberally with the Salt and Pepper.
Add the Oil to the pot. When the oil smokes lightly, carefully add the Pork Shanks.
Brown the Shanks on all sides until they are nicely bronzed.
Remove the Shanks.
Now add to the same pot the Onions, Carrots, Celery, Garlic, Bay Leaves, Thyme, Rosemary and Peppercorns,
Saut this mixture until nicely browned.
Add the Cabernet and the stock return the Shanks to the pot, cover and bake in an oven at 300 degrees F
for 3 hours or until very tender.
Remove Shanks from the pot very gently being careful not to disturb the fork tender meat.
Strain the Sauce through a fine-mesh strainer.
Cook this Sauce over medium heat until syrupy consistency.
Turn the heat to low and whisk in the cold Butter.
Season to taste with the Salt and Pepper.
Drizzle the Sauce over the Shanks and serve extra Sauce at the table.

Serving suggestions: Serve with Celery Root Puree or Parsnip Puree

Melted Leeks

5 Leeks chopped- Light Green and White parts only
2 tbsp. Butter
cup Water

In a medium sauce pan, melt the Butter then add the Water and the Leeks.
Stew gently over low heat until the Water has evaporated.
About 4-6 minutes.
Keep warm.
Parsnip Potato Puree

3 medium Russet Potatoes- peeled
3 medium Parsnips- peeled and cut into 2 inch dice.
cup Heavy Cream
3 tbsp. Butter
tsp Nutmeg
2 tbsp. Chives- finely chopped
Kosher Salt and Freshly ground Black pepper to taste

Boil the Parsnips and Potatoes until the potatoes are cooked through.
Drain thoroughly.
Pass the Parsnips and Potatoes through a food mill or ricer.
Bring the Cream, Butter and Nutmeg to a boil
Gently Fold in the Cream and Butter mixture.
Mix in the Chives and season to taste with Salt and pepper.
Cover and keep warm.


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