Monday, November 2, 2009

Blue Bicycle: Sophisticated Cuisine in Thunder Road Country

The Blue Bicycle, a chic bistro in Dawsonville. GA., is one of that area's many surprises. Between the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, Forest Hills Resort, the great folk art gallery Around Back at Rockys Place and the Kangaroo Conservation Center, there's lots for travelers to do in Dawson County.

I capped a recent visit there with lunch at Blue Bicycle where I was fascinated with the stories of Kati Owen and her husband, chef supreme Guy.

Thanks to Kathy Witt and to Marty Williams at the Dawson County Convention & Visitors Bureau for talking Guy into sharing this recipe.                             

                                                                                                                                                 Berkshire Pork Osso Bucco

Serves 6

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

6 each 1 lb Berkshire pork shanks (fresh not smoked!)
Salt and white pepper
½ cup flour for dredging
½ cup peanut oil for frying

2/3 cup (1 medium) yellow onion diced fine
1/3 cup (1 medium) carrot diced fine
1/3 cup (1 rib) celery diced fine
2 to 3 cloves garlic minced very fine
¼ tsp red chili flakes or more to taste

½ cup dry white wine
1 – 28 oz. can Italian-style tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
Zest of one-half of a lemon
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ tsp dry
1 sprig fresh rosemary or ½ tsp dry
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a 10-inch fry pan over medium high heat with the peanut oil to frying temperature (350 degrees F).  Season the shanks with salt and pepper and dust them lightly with flour.  Gently place half the shanks into the oil.  Do not over crowd the pan; you can do them in two or three batches if necessary.  Brown them on all sides and then remove them to a separate oven-proof pan or casserole large enough to hold all the ribs plus the liquid.  I use a turkey roaster for this.

Once all the shanks have been browned reduce the heat to medium and pour off all but about two tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté the vegetables for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally until they are golden brown; scrape loose any brown bits that may have stuck to the pan.  Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook for another minute.

Add the wine and bring it to a boil.  Reduce the wine to half of its original volume and then add the tomatoes, lemon zest, chicken stock, and herbs. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.  Remember that the sauce will reduce some during cooking and will intensify the flavor as it reduces.  You can add more salt and pepper at the end so don’t over season at this point.

When the sauce comes to a full boil carefully pour it over the shanks.  There should be enough sauce to come about half way up the sides of the meat; it should not cover it completely.  Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid or aluminum foil and place in the pre-heated oven and cook for three hours.

After three hours remove from the oven and check for tenderness.  Meat should be falling from the bone at this point.  Remove the shanks to a warm platter and hold.  Remove the herb stems and bay leaf from the sauce then reduce by about one-half.  Check seasoning and return the shanks to the sauce.  Hold in a warm place.


1-½ cups yellow polenta (grits)
6-8 cups chicken stock
Salt and white pepper to taste (about 1 ½ tsps.
2 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
1 TBS sweet butter

In a 2-quart sauce pot heat the stock to a boil then slowly whisk in the polenta. Cook the polenta at a moderate heat until thickened.  If it becomes too thick or is not tender, add a little hot water and continue to cook until satisfied with the consistency.  Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese then the butter.

½ bunch Italian parsley, de-stemmed
Grated zest of ½ lemon
1 small clove garlic

Combine everything in the bowl of a food processor and pulse process for 30 seconds.

To serve: Portion the polenta into 6 pasta bowls.  Top each with a pork shank, divide the sauce among the 6 bowls and top with plenty of gremolata.   Serve broccoli rabe, broccolini or spinach on the side

For information on Dawson County, contact Marty at 1-877-302-92711,
For information on The Blue Bicycle, go to

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