Save for Tony Parker and the Michelin Man, Ludo Lefebvre might just be the most famous Frenchman in America today. As a judge/mentor on ABC’s cooking competition show The Taste, he’s known for challenging upstart cooks with a razor-sharp palate — and for his thick-as-matelote-stew Bourgogne accent. But in food-world circles he’s best known for running two successful Los Angeles restaurants, the impossible-to-book Trois Mec and the new, walk-in-only Petit Trois. Here, a recipe from his first book, Crave, which has recently been reprinted.
The shank is first browned on the stove, then basted with honey before baking, which creates an almost iridescent glaze. The result is a beautiful, honeyed shank the color of bright amber. The sweetness is counterbalanced by the slightly bitter artichokes and Swiss chard that accompany it.
- ¼ cup canola oil, plus 2 tablespoons
- 6 pounds veal bones
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 whole bulbs garlic, halved crosswise
- 1 whole onion, halved
- 6 quarts cold water
- 3 ripe tomatoes
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 fresh bay leaves
- 3 large sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 4- to 5-pound whole veal shank
- Fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cups veal stock (recipe below)
- 1 cup honey, preferably acacia
- 12 cups water
- 6 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 16 baby artichokes (about 2½ pounds total)
- 1 bunch green Swiss chard
- ¼ cup room-temperature unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup veal stock (recipe below)
For the veal stock:
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Pour ¼ cup oil into a heavy large roasting pan; place the pan in the oven until the oil and pan are very hot, about 3 minutes. Add the veal bones to the pan; turn to coat with the oil. Return the pan to the oven and roast until the bones are a rich dark brown color, turning the bones occasionally, about 1 hour.
- Stir in the tomato paste to coat the bones. Add the carrots, leek, chopped onion and garlic. Stir to mix well. Return the pan to the oven and roast until the vegetables are a rich brown color, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line a heavy medium sauté pan with foil. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan over high heat. Place the onion halves, cut side down, in the pan. Cook until the onions are black on the bottom, about 8 minutes, and set aside. (This will lend a depth of color and flavor to the finished stock.)
- Transfer the roasting pan to the stovetop. Add the cold water, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves and parsley. Bring to a simmer over two burners on medium-high heat. Add the blackened onions. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 3 to 4 hours, skimming the stock every 15 minutes to remove the fat and foam that accumulate at the top.
- Strain the stock through a fine-meshed strainer. Cool in the refrigerator and remove the fat from atop the stock once cooled. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days before using.
Note: Makes about 8 cups. The stock can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days, or frozen up to 3 months.
For the veal shank:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Sprinkle the veal shank with fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper.
- Heat the oil in a heavy roasting pan just large enough to hold the veal shank over medium heat. Add the veal and cook until brown all over, about 18 minutes. Pour the honey over the veal. Add the veal stock to the pan and stir to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Bring the pan juices to a boil. Transfer the pan to the oven. Braise, uncovered, until the meat is fork-tender and a rich amber brown all over, basting occasionally with the pan juices, about 2½ hours.
For the vegetables:
- Stir the water, 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and the flour in a heavy large pot to blend.
- Bend back the dark green outer leaves of the artichokes (about the outer 3 or 4 layers of leaves) and snap them off at the base of each artichoke until only the pale green and yellow leaves remain. Cut of the top 1¼ inch of each artichoke. Add the artichokes to the lemon water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until a skewer can be inserted without resistance into the base of the artichoke, about 4 minutes. Drain the cooking liquid. Cut the artichokes lengthwise in half and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet to cool. Set aside.
- Cut the chard stem into 1-inch diagonal slices. Cut the chard leaves crosswise into ½-inch-thick strips and set aside. Cook the stem pieces in a small saucepan of boiling water until crisp-tender, about 20 seconds. Drain, then transfer the stem pieces to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain again and set aside.
- Whisk the butter, parsley and garlic in a small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Season the garlic-parsley butter to taste with fleur de sel and pepper.
To finish and serve:
- Bring the remaining 1 cup of veal stock to a simmer in a heavy wide saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the artichokes, chard-stem pieces and chard strips. Cook, uncovered, until the chard strips are tender but still bright green and the artichokes are heated through, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.
- Using tongs, transfer the vegetables to a large platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Boil the cooking liquid over high heat until reduced, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the garlic-parsley butter. Spoon the sauce over the vegetables.
- Place the veal shank in the center of the platter. Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into the veal pan juices. Drizzle the pan juices over the veal and serve immediately.
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