Dario Cecchini, the legendary butcher of Panzano in Chianti, offered me this recipe, which, he explained, is povera only in the sense that the shank is an inexpensive cut of meat. Long, slow cooking transforms it into a superbly flavorful dish. Ask your butcher to butterfly the meat, remove the bone, and saw it in half lengthwise to make the marrow easier to remove. Save the bone halves in the freezer for making stock.
- 1 whole beef shank (about 8 pounds), boned and butterflied, bone sawed in half lengthwise and reserved
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 6 sprigs rosemary
- 1 ½ pounds medium shallots
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 ½ cups vin santo or dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the meat on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the meat on a cutting board, cut side up. Scoop the marrow from the reserved bone halves, and distribute it over one side of the meat. Pick the leaves off 3 of the rosemary sprigs. Sprinkle them over the marrow. Roll the meat into a log, and tie tightly in at least 4 places with kitchen string.
Place the meat in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid. Add the rosemary sprigs, and scatter the shallots over and around the meat. Drizzle the olive oil over the meat and shallots. Cover and roast for 1 ½ hours. Uncover the pot, and pour the wine over the meat. Using tongs, turn the meat over in the pot, and replace the lid. Roast for another hour.
Remove the pot from the oven (use oven mittens since the pot will be hot and heavy), and turn the meat over again. Be careful when doing this, as the juices may splatter. Baste the meat with the pan juices and return the pot to the oven, uncovered. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender and browned. Remove the pot from the oven, transfer the meat to a cutting board, and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to a warmed serving platter. Pour the pan juices into a gravy separator or pitcher and let the fat rise to the top. Pour or spoon off the fat, reserving the pan juices. Remove the strings from the meat, and cut the meat into ½-inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices on the serving platter with the shallots, and pour some of the pan juices over all. Serve with the remaining pan juices on the side.