Milkfed porcelet hindshanks, glazed with honey/smoked paprika marinade and served with winter vegetables cooked in various ways

Porcelet in French simply refers to a young pork, a piglet... But here, the term porcelet refers to an exclusively milk-fed piglet... One could almost have written it porcelait, lait meaning milk in French. However, this should not be confused with the suckling pig (or cochon de lait in French) that is a piglet exclusively fed on its mother's milk. Porcelet are fed with cow milk and this is why in many farms in France, pigs and/or pork meat, ham, bacon... are frequent by-products sold by cow raising farms.

To quote D'Artagnan (where I bought my porcelet cuts): "... porcelet offers the most succulent pork imaginable, with a unique delicate flavor, and pale intramuscular fat that is creamy and firm. Even the tender suckling pig with 17% moisture content cannot compare to the 30% moisture content of porcelet. And because porcelet grows larger, there is more delicious pork to be enjoyed."

Those hindshanks were indeed the most tender pork meat you could dream of. Not tender, melting! Another advantage is that it allows to reduce by 25% the cooking times that would be normally required for "normal" pork shanks. And it is so flavorful too. 

Ingredients (4 servings)

For the porcelet shanks: 

  • 4 porcelet hindshanks
  • 4 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. of smoked hot paprika
  • 1 red onion half, peeled
  • 1 carrot cut in segments
  • 1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme, celery stem, carrot greens, leek green parts, ... tied with a twine
  • 2 tsp. duck fat
  • 1 tsp. neutral oil
  • 1 glass of Alsace's Riesling
For the sides:
  • 4 small/medium white potatoes, non-peeled, beheaded
  • 4 small/medium redskin potatoes, non-peeled, beheaded
  • 1 celeriac, trimmed, peeled, cut in quarters
  • 2 sunchokes, peeled
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 big fennel cut in quarters
  • 1 leek (white part) cut in 4 segments
  • 2 tbsp. of butter


The shanks:
  • In a pan and with a tiny bit of oil, sear the onion half on the cut side till burned (this will give color and flavor to the broth), cut it in wedges and reserve it
  • Crisscross the rind of each shank
  • Heat the duck fat in a pot and sear each shank on each side, including the bottom, and reserve them
  • Add the carrot and onion segments and coat them in the fat
  • Put the shanks on top of the carrots and onions
  • Deglaze with the wine and let evaporate the alcohol 
  • Add 0.5 water just to cover the shanks
  • Add the bouquet garni and salt
  • Put to boil, lid off
  • When boiling, turn the burner to low/medium and let simmer for 90 minutes, turning regularly the shanks
  • After 90 minutes, remove the shanks and let them strain on a grid
  • Make a marinade with the honey, the paprika and a small ladle of the shank broth
  • Put the shanks in an oven dish and brush them on each side with the marinade
  • Roast them in a 325 F preheated oven for 90 minutes
  • Every 15 minutes, brush the shank with the remaining marinade and/or the sauce on the bottom of the dish
  • After those 90 minutes, pass the shanks under the broil to perfect their glazing and crackling
The sides and the sauce
  • While the shanks are roasting, let reduce the broth. Thanks to the collagen in the meat and bones, it will already have thickened up.
  • Add the celeriac, sunchoke and carrot sides into the broth till each of them is cooked and reserve
  • Place the leek and fennel pieces in a strainer above the broth, steam them till cooked and rserve 
  • Around 30/40 minutes before serving, sear the potatoes in the butter on each cut side, then pour the shank broth just underneath the top ans simmer till the potatoes are "fondant"
  • While the shanks are under the broil, take a couple of ladle of broth, mix it with the honey/paprika marinade in the bottom of the oven dish, adjust the seasoning and finish redicing till obtaining a syrupy texture
It was served with the Alsace's Riesling, of course!!!