Updated: Sep 18, 2021
This is one of those late August dishes that helps transition your mind from Summer to Fall. Its hearty in the sense that it consists of components that remind you of cooler weather, like crispy pork and a warm gravy. But yet its light and pretty vegetable forward, so it won't have you skipping out on your summertime outdoor chores.
The hog shank is first seared and braised in a flavorful stock and then crisped up a little more under your ovens broiler before being served. While I have this version served over rice, you can turn this into a true Fall-weather dish by trading the rice out for a creamy risotto loaded with Parmesan cheese.
FOR THE PORK SHANK
4 wild pig shanks
2 tablespoon peanut oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoons juniper berries
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 large onion chopped
pork or chicken stock, enough to cover the meat
FOR THE SMOKY TOMATO & OKRA GRAY
2 cups preserved or whole canned tomatoes (with juices)
3/4 pound of fresh okra
5 strips of smoked bacon, roughly chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup sweet onion, minced
3 tablespoons diced celery
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
FOR THE GARLIC RICE
2 cups jasmine rice
2 cups water
1 tablespoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
fresh chopped basil
STEP ONE: Start on the shanks
Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees F.
Season the shanks with salt. Heat a pan over medium high heat and add your peanut oil. Once the oil starts to smoke add the shanks and brown on all sides. Remove the pork from the pot and place into a high sided backing dish. Cover the pork about 3/4 with the stock. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and bake for 2-2.5 hours or until fork tender. While your pork is cooking in the oven, lets move on to the tomato gravy.
STEP TWO: Start on the stew
In a medium sized pot cook the chopped bacon over medium high heat until it is crisp and the fat has rendered. Transfer the cooked bacon onto paper towels and leave the bacon fat in the pot. Save the crispy bacon for garnishing.
Add the bell pepper, onion and celery to the pot and cook until they are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the okra and cook until is soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the flour to the pot, gently stir constantly while cooking for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and hot sauce, stir to incorporate. After the mixture has come to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes. The okra should be tender and the tomatoes fallen apart. While the gravy is cooking start on your rice.
STEP THREE: Cook the rice
Rinse the rice under cold water until the water is clear and drain well. Place the rice in a pot or rice cooker with the two cups of water, salt and ginger. Bring the rice to a very low simmer and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. While the rice is cooking make your garlic oil.
Place the garlic and olive in a small microwave safe dish. Cook in your microwave for two minutes.
After the rice has cooked, fluff it with a fork. Gently stir in the garlic oil until all of the rice is coated with it.
FINAL STEP: Bring it all together
Set your oven to broil. Remove the pork from the cooking liquid and dry off thoroughly with paper towels. Place the pork in an oven proof pan. Broil the pork on all sides until it is crispy. Keep an eye on this and do not burn.
To serve, place rice onto your plate. Top it with the tomato & okra gravy followed by the pork shank. Garnish each plate with the crispy bacon, green onions and fresh basil.