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The technique is ancient Chinese. The results are lean, succulent.

An ancient Chinese way of cooking is tailor-made for current tastes. The process is simple: meat is stewed in a mixture of water, soy sauce, ginger, onion, and garlic. The soy tinges the meat brownish-red, giving rise to the name "red-cooking." The meat juices enrich the liquid, making a flavorful broth. And as the meat simmers, the fat melts and floats to the surface, where it can be skimmed away.

In this updated approach, the meat choices are slow-cooking, succulent, and surprisingly lean shanks of lamb and beef. Instead of stewing, they are oven-braised, untended. You can cook shanks ahead, then reheat the next day. Use broth as a sauce for the meat and for a complex-carbohydrate companion such as pasta.

Red-cooked Lamb Shanks

6 lamb shanks (about 5 1/2 lb. total), bones cracked, rinsed

2 cups water

1/3 cup dry sherry

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup minced ginger

3 tablespoons sugar

3 green onions (ends trimmed), chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

About 1 tablespoon cornstarch

About 6 cups hot cooked pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes

Chopped parsley

Lay shanks in a single layer in a 9- by 13-inch pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 400[deg] oven until browned, about 35 minutes.

Turn shanks over, add water, sherry, soy, ginger, sugar, onions, and garlic. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake until meat is so tender it pulls apart easily, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

With a slotted spoon, transfer shanks gently to a platter; keep warm. If made ahead, cover and chill meat (on platter) and broth (in pan) up until next day. Skim and discard fat (or lift chilled fat) from cooking broth. (If made ahead, return shanks and any broth to baking pan, cover with foil, and bake in a 400[deg] oven until meat is hot, 35 to 40 minutes; then put shanks on platter and keep warm.) Measure broth; if needed, add water to make about 1 1/2 cups. Set baking pan with broth over high heat and bring to boiling. If more than 1 1/2 cups, boil to reduce.

In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water; stir enough of the cornstarch mixture into boiling broth to thicken broth to consistency you like. Pour into a small bowl. Add pasta to platter with meat; sprinkle with parsley. Moisten meat and pasta to taste with broth. Serves 6.

Per serving: 600 cal.; 67 g protein; 13 g fat; 50 g carbo.; 865 mg sodium; 184 mg chol.

Red-cooked Beef Shanks

Follow directions for red-cooked lamb shanks (preceding), omitting lamb shanks and using 6 beef shanks (each piece about 2 in. thick, about 6 lb. total). Bake until meat is very tender and pulls easily from the bones, about 2 hours.

Per serving: 598 cal; 68 g protein; 12 g fat; 50 g carbo.; 865 mg sodium; 109 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Nov 1, 1990
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