Spoon-Tender Braised Veal Shank Recipe

Jarret de Veau Braisé à la Cuiller

[Spoon-Tender Braised Veal Shank]

May I introduce to you my new favorite dinner party recipe, a recipe of the sort hosts and hostesses ardently wish for, a recipe that requires minimal effort and produces spectacular results?

Yes, I thought that might interest you.

The recipe in question is a recipe for veal shank that one braises for three to four hours in sweet white wine (vin blanc moelleux), surrounded by a benevolent court of onions and/or shallots, until the sauce has turned to a simmering amber, and the meat is so mellow and succulent it can be served and eaten with a spoon — hence the name.

You may recall the veal shank from osso buco recipes, where it is sliced into rounds: it is a cut taken from the back leg of the animal, it includes lobes of lean and gelatinous meat as well as a big fat central bone filled with pulpy marrow, and these features make it an admirable candidate for slow cooking methods.

The seeds of this particular recipe were first planted in my mind during a conversation with the wonderful Meredith, who works in the kitchen of the restaurant Les Ormes in the 7th, a conversation during which she spoke highly of her chef’s signature jarret de veau à la cuiller. I have yet to taste Stéphane Molé’s version and I was too shy to ring Meredith and ask if she would walk me through his method, so I just did a bit of online research instead.

Among the great many recipes that turned up, the one that inspired me the most was Tarzile’s, which she herself had gotten from a Quebec cooking show. What immediately drew me to this recipe, beyond Tarzile’s lively prose, was that it required very few ingredients — meat, shallots, wine, spices — and even fewer steps — salt the meat, peel the onions, slip into the oven, et voilà!

I have made this twice in ten days — something I seldom, if ever do — and served it to two different panels of diners. Both times the dish was lauded in such a way that I felt compelled to reveal how straightforward and easy the recipe was — unlike magicians, I take pleasure in sharing my sleights of hand — and both times I had my tasters shake their head in wonder as they took mental or, in some cases, written notes.

At Les Ormes, the jarret is served with homemade potato gnocchi, and fresh pasta would be wonderful, too, but I chose to serve mine with a mix of carrots and Jerusalem artichokes the first time, and with mashed celeriac (boil it in salted water and mash it with a little crème fraîche and lots of pepper) the second time. Whatever side you choose, it should be something that will take kindly to a liberal dousing of the thickened, caramelized juices.

The original recipe called for Vin de Muscat or Vin de Samos; I used a bottle of late-harvest Tariquet, a Gascony wine of which I am very fond. As for the drinking wine pairing, my favorite caviste could not have made a more spot-on recommendation than a red 2004 Sancerre from the Domaine des Caves du Prieuré.

Jarret de Veau Braisé à la Cuiller

1 veal shank, bone in, at least 1.5 kg (3 1/3 pounds) — it is safest to order it from your butcher’s as it is not a commonly requested cut
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 kg (a little over 2 pounds) sweet onions (I used oignons doux des Cévennes), peeled and halved — substitute shallots, simply peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme (or 3 sprigs fresh thyme)
3 cloves
Salt, freshly ground pepper
Olive oil
Half a bottle (1 1/2 cups) sweet (but not cloying) white wine, such as a late-harvest Tariquet, a Muscat, a Jurançon…

Serves 4 to 5.

Set the veal shank in a glass or ceramic baking dish, rub with the coarse salt, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Put the onions in a large (about 7 liters or quarts) ovenproof pot with a lid (ideally, a cast-iron cocotte). Sprinkle with coriander, thyme, cloves, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.

Rinse the meat well under cold water and shake dry gently. Nestle amidst the onions, pour in the wine, cover, and slip into the oven.

Bake for 3 to 4 hours, flipping the shank halfway through, until the meat is caramelized and so soft it falls off the bones, and until the sauce is thick, and syrupy. Serve with fresh pasta, gnocchi, mashed celeriac, sautéed root vegetables…

  • Sounds delicious and EASY! Is there a particular reason you chose a sweet white over deep red, which would seem to be the traditional wine for an osso bucco dish? I understand you aren’t going for osso bucco, but I am wondering what motivated you to pair the white wine / red meat combo that I see so rarely, and that sounds so good.

  • I love braising meat ’till it almost falls off the bone!

  • Looks mouthwatering… Simple, yet genius… Thank you for the recipe…

  • *salivating*

    Looks like awesome winter comfort food.

    Bien fait!

  • Must be very interesting with some “vin blanc moelleux”… you should try with a Vouvray moelleux which has a nice acidity which will balance the sweet effect.

    You can do the same recipe with a good brown beer and some Genevrier seed

  • Céline75

    Hummm ça a l’air délicieux… Je sens que je ne vais pas tarder à tester cette recette !

    Juste une petite remarque : pour que la recette soit autoportante pour les personnes “métriques” comme moi, pourrais-tu y ajouter l’équivalence de 1 1/2 cups en cl (pour le vin blanc) STP ?

    Merci d’avance !

  • My goodness– my mouth is watering like crazy!! Thanks for the recipe, I must try it this week!! It sounds perfect for these cold days!

  • The Wine Makers Wife

    Clotilde, I am so excited about your upcomming book being available on Amazon soon. I have it pre-ordered and am looking forward to curling up on the couch with it. This veal shank looks amazing. I am always on the prowl for an easy recipe that burbles away in teh oven or stove top whiel I can enjoy my guests. Plus the ingredients are simple and straight forward. I’m so curious as to why Muscat is called for? I have loads of this at home and drink it only in the warm months, it would be fun to use it for a “stew” like this.
    I will need to try this one!

  • You’re more likely to catch me braising lamb shanks with thyme and rosemary in a lusty red vintage, but this sounds quite nice. I’d imagine the white wine does little to overpower the subtle flavors of oh-so-delicate veal.

    If your readers would prefer a slightly thicker sauce, I should suggest that they avoid roux in a case like this. The sauce can instead be thickened by pureeing a portion of the braising onions and incorporating them. I prefer to thicken the pan gravies from meats braised with vegetables in this manner, as it creates more of a unified context for the flavors to dance within. This will probably add a little more sweetness (especially if carrots or classic mirepoix are involved), so re-season as needed after you’ve done the deed.

    Crowning the sauce with cold butter or a little heavy cream never hurts either.


  • wow! I am a big fan of braised meat and the likes such as steak pies, but I’ve never cooked them with sweet wine. And the recipe looks so easy. definetely a must-make. Thanks!

  • marie

    I did something similar to this with the grown-up equivalent (jarret de bouef) sliced as osso bucco, some vegetables, didn’t have any red wine, but cooked it in the oven for 6-7 hours, pretty low temperature, ABSOLUTELY incredible result.
    I’m completely into this kind of recipe at the moment , slow cooking + cheap meat spells excellence :D.

  • Alisa

    oh, i am so glad you posted this recipe :)
    I made celery root puree tonight thanks to you!

  • veron

    I love shanks, especially lamb which I used to make osso buco. I have not tried veal yet but if I do I try your recipe. Can’t wait for your book to come out. I had it on pre-order since you first announced it is available at Amazon!

  • Your papounet

    Celine75 : comme je ne suis pas encore couché, je réponds à la place de Clotilde, qui doit l’être , elle, à cette heure-ci, peut-être…
    Quand il s’agit de liquides, donc de simples volumes, on peut dire que “a cup is a cup is a cup”, pour paraphraser l’immortelle Gertrude Stein… Je te suggère donc de lire attentivement dans “Features” la partie qui s’appelle “Conversions”. Tu y trouveras ce que tu as besoin de savoir, comme toute personne “métrique” !

  • Renata

    Here in California vela is considered very cruel. Can this be done with a pork chop or maybe some beef ribs instead?

    I also don’t recognize those white wines. Will a simple chardonnay do?

  • John – Thanks for the suggestions but I have to say, after 3 or 4 hours of braising, the sauce is so rich and syrupy it really doesn’t need any further thickening.

    Céline – 1 1/2 cup = 37.5 cl = half a bottle.

    Renata – A beef shank would be a better substitute. As for the wine, any moderately sweet white wine (Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Johannisberg Riesling…) will do — a Chardonnay would be too dry.

  • I’m a new convert to osso bucco. Really, I don’t think anything wouldn’t taste good if cooked in wine for hours. I’ll have to give your recipe a try. It’s always nice to impress guests.

  • Looks and sounds great – but am interested in one thing:
    Why salt the meat for an hour then rinse the salt off? What does effect does this achieve?
    I could understand salting the meat for a much longer period, or say, salting the fat if it were to be roasted, but I’d be interested to hear why it needs to be done for this dish.

  • Jay

    Sounds delicious, and you just know I’m busily taking down notes right now.

  • Céline75

    Merci d’avoir répondu (toi et ton père) à ma requête… et mea culpa : j’aurais effectivement pu faire la conversion toute seule avec la table de conversion que tu as mise en ligne ! Comme quoi on n’a jamais fini de découvrir les richesses de ce blog…

    Je le saurai pour la prochaine fois et ne t’ennuierai plus avec cela !

    Merci encore !

  • This is a fantastic sounding recipe and just the type of thing I like to make…thanks so much for sharing it! :)

  • Scrumptious! Very much appreciated by the entire family.

  • I’ve been curious to try osso bucco for a while now, but this recipe might just be the thing that wins me over. Does anyone know if veal shanks are cut the same way in the UK?

  • Sounds fabulous… I’ll have to try it this weekend.

  • Clotilde:

    A wonderful winter warmer! I’ve been experimenting with these often under-appreciated cuts of meat lately, with tremendous results. While I’ve been braising in the traditional Burgundy or Rhone, I’m eager to taste the difference of a white! I’m wondering how the braising liquid would fare with the addition of a rich veal stock, as I’ve been using with my shortribs…Back to the kitchen laboratory! Cheers!

  • Mon Dieu! This sounds fabulous. And you’re right, it sounds simple too–seems to me the hardest part would be living with the wonderful cooking smells throughout the house for 3 to 4 hours. I am SO going to make this.

    Studying your beautiful photo, I believe that’s the Staub cocotte, isn’t it? We love ours.

  • What a wonderful post and recipe!

    I will be trying this soon, thank you for sharing.


  • Carrie R.

    My Mouth Waters. My partner & I are moving into our 1st home togther & this is officially the 1st meal we will be attempting in our shiny new kitchen. So excited!!


  • Well, I had this recipe stuck in my head all week since I love braised meats, but I couldn’t find jarret de veau-rien! Finally I settled on osso bucco…I can’t wait to give it a go.

    I just need to figure out what to do with the remaining half-bottle of wine…

  • David – Yes, it’s a cut that’s seldom requested, so I usually order it from my butcher just to be sure.

  • Annette

    In prepartion for a trip to Paris in mid Feb, have visited many blogs and this is by far the best. (I’m hooked.) Doing an apartment exchange (mine in East Village, for theirs in the 10th) so thanks for the great recipies; and when feet are walked off and no heart for cooking — special thanks for the Chicken Family take out!

  • Clotilde, merci pour le clin d’oeil. C’est effectivement une superbe recette. Facile à faire et si délicieuse.

    Il faut la faire bientôt puisque l’hiver devrait être court, dixit les marmottes météorologues.

  • Made this the best we could. Not cooks so it didn’t turn out as good as the photos. Will try again.


    I’m so exited about all this chocolate
    C’est si bon!!!Merci!

    Keep going


  • Braising is always a great way of cooking meat, especially those cheaper cuts.

    And I just love venison!

  • Camille

    You inspire me on a regular basis.

    Made a wonderful roast in the crock pot on Sat. (Sorry no wine for the pregnant – used tomoato soup instead) put pearl onions and button mushrooms in with it. It was fabolus the boys inhaled it.

  • The Wine Makers Wife

    3 cloves? or 3 cloves of garlic?

  • Wine Maker’s Wife – Three cloves. No garlic.

  • Thank you so much for this recipe! We loved it. We didn’t have any trouble finding veal shank. The most difficult thing to find (oddly enough) was the thyme. Everyone was out, including ourselves. Four stores later, we had some.

  • Donna

    Clotilde, We had this Saturday evening with firends and it was just BRILLIANT! Our friends liked it so much, they requested the recipe, which I gladly shared. I had one funny anecdote around the wine…

    I managed to find a Muscat for the braising in the wine cellar. So I went out in the afternoon to find a Sancerre. The wineseller near my house refused to let me have a Sancerre. :o He said it was too wimpy. He felt that the veal and the wine would neither one stand up to the other. I ended up coming home with a “very mineral-y” Italian Ares. I had never heard of it. It more than did the trick – but next time, I won’t tell him what I’m serving it with and just pick up the Sancerre!

  • Your papounet

    Deirdre : funny how everybody seems to run out of thyme, these days…

  • Hi. We made this last night made with thick-sliced beef shank and Gewürztraminer for wine. We served it over fresh spinach pasta. It was really great and so easy! Thanks!

  • Nanette

    I am making this tonight even in the midst of July in Los Angeles! For Renata, who is concerned about how the calves are raised, Whole Foods Market has fabulous cruelty-free veal. It is just as tender and sweet and flavorful as the kind we grew up with when we didn’t know better. Lovely. And I think I’ll serve over polenta. mmmmm

  • kristen

    Made this with lamb shanks and riesling in le creuset…spectacular!

  • Mas Jen

    Clotilde – would this work for an Italian themed dinner served over polenta (with or without parmesan mixed in???). Your sides sound like they are a bit sweet as well.

    Please, please advise. I’ve got people coming over!!

  • Mas Jen – Polenta would be a perfect side for this. I suggest you make it without cheese, as the dish will be plenty rich without it…

  • Anne

    Good grief this recipe was amazing! Have NEVER responded to a recipe found on a blog but this one left me speechless. Can’t wait to try more:)

    • That’s wonderful to hear, Anne, thanks for reporting back!

  • Céline75

    Fait ce week-end, nous nous sommes régalés ! Ce mode de cuisson rend la viande très tendre, alors que le veau a des fois tendance à être sec sinon.

    Merci de cette recette !

    • Je suis bien contente que ça vous ait plu ! Merci de m’en donner des nouvelles.

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