Photograph © 2010 by Judd Pilossof. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Update: Congratulations, Kris, the winner of this contest!  Her Sunday Supper?  “I made one of our favorite dishes with ground lamb, onions, apricots, prunes, green beans, and noodles topped with yogurt and garlic.  With a spinach salad it was perfect.”

On the other hand, if the veal is dark rose, I know it’s been allowed to roam free until slaughter. As a carnivore, I’m evolving, but at this point, I’m OK with veal that’s been raised like this. Before Christmas, I spied some dark rosy, farm-raised veal shanks and picked them up, thinking we’d enjoy them over the holidays.As I’ve reduced my meat consumption these last few years, I’ve also had to rethink how I feel about veal (euphemism for baby cow). As with all animals, my main concern: how they were raised. When I see veal in the meat case, I can tell a lot about its life. If it’s the usual pale pink, I know it’s likely been separated from its mother and crated, the better to keep those muscles nice and pale and tender.

Turns out there was so much rich food those few weeks, there was never the right moment to really enjoy and appreciate them. So they stayed in the freezer until this past Sunday morning. Sharon and new husband Anthony were stopping by for a quick lunch en route to New Haven after a fun Saturday night with her sister Maggy and brother-in-law Andy in New York. What to serve them?

I opened the pantry, I opened the fridge–no inspiration. I opened the freezer, and there sat those eight beautiful veal shanks. I pulled them out to thaw, but then I realized a meal like this needed time and deserved a great bottle of wine. Occasionally I love leisurely Sunday lunches, but there wasn’t time for a nap after a meal like that. The shanks were thawed. What to do?

I made soup and salad instead. As Sharon and Anthony were leaving, I realized I didn’t need eight veal shanks. Would they like four of them? Yes! Perfect. I braised mine. They took theirs home to braise.

Around dinnertime I got a text from Sharon, “Just sitting down to braised veal shanks with wild mushroom and Corsican goat cheese polenta : ) yum!”

Hmm. I didn’t have polenta, but I had grits, and I had goat cheese too!

With the goat cheese addition, it turns out three animals contributed to my dish–prosciutto to flavor the braise, the veal shanks of course, and then goat cheese in the grits. Felt a little wrong, but then again so very right.

Thank God today’s Meatless Monday, but I’m looking forward to the two remaining shanks for dinner later this week!

P.S. It’s cold today and it feels like a great day to give away my last cookbook Perfect One-Dish Dinners!  Just tell me what you had for supper Sunday night.  Giveaway ends Wednesday, January 18th at 9PM ET.  We’ll choose a winner and let you know by Thursday morning.  Stay warm!

Osso Bucco with Goat Cheese Grits

Serves 4

4 veal shanks, tied around the circumference with butcher’s twine
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 large each: carrot, celery stalk, and onion, cut into small dice
4 large garlic cloves, minced
4 thin slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces), minced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 can (14.5 ounces) petite-diced tomatoes
1 cup red wine
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup quick grits
4 ounces goat cheese

Heat a large heavy-bottomed deep skillet or soup kettle over low heat. Coat both sides of shanks with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. A few minutes from browning shanks, turn heat to medium-high. Add shanks to hot pan and cook, turning only once until brown on both sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a plate; set aside.

Remove pan from heat to cool slightly, then add butter, and return to medium-high burner. Add carrots, celery, and onion; sauté until soft and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, prosciutto, and Italian seasonings; sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. Add tomatoes, wine, and broth, bring to a simmer, and return shanks to pan. Turn off heat and place a piece of heavy-duty foil over the pan. Using a potholder to protect hands, press on foil so that it touches the stew. Seal foil completely around the edges. Place lid on skillet to create a tight seal. Turn burner on medium-high until juices bubble. Set pan in oven and cook until shanks are fork tender, 1 hour and 15 minutes.

When ready to serve heat 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in a large saucepan. Whisk in grits; continue to whisk until soft, but thick, 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in goat cheese. Spoon a portion of grits on each of 4 plates. Top each with a veal shank and a portion of sauce. Serve.