- Sprinkle beef shanks with ½ teaspoon of salt and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Add beef to Dutch oven and cook over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to large bowl.
- Add garlic to Dutch oven and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, wine, and broth, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot. Bring to boil and cook 3 minutes. Return beef to pot along with ½ teaspoon salt, the pepper, and bay leaf. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until beef is fork-tender, 2–2½ hours.
- With slotted spoon, transfer beef to large bowl; skim off and discard any fat from surface of sauce. Discard bay leaf. Return beef to Dutch oven and keep warm.
- Bring water and remaining ½ teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan over medium high heat. Slowly whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until polenta is very thick, about 4 minutes. Spoon evenly onto 4 plates or into large shallow bowls. Place beef shanks on top, and spoon sauce over. Sprinkle with parsley.
- Per serving: 1 beef shank, generous 1/2 cup sauce, and about 1/2 cup polenta.
The browned bits that are scraped up from the bottom of a pot are called the fond (fahn), the French word for “bottom.” They have a concentrated ﬂavor that adds depth to a finished dish. The fond is incorporated by adding a liquid, such as wine, broth, or water to the pot, which helps to dislodge the tasty bits.