In a large Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil over high heat until very hot.
Season shanks on both sides with the Essence, transfer to Dutch oven and cook until browned on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer shanks to a plate and set aside. Add onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and beginning to caramelize, about 7 minutes.
Add garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes. Add red wine and stir well with a wooden spoon, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any bits. Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, beef stock, basil, parsley, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper and stir well to combine.
Return shanks to the Dutch oven and bring sauce to a boil. Cover Dutch oven, lower heat to a simmer and cook for 5 hours, stirring occasionally, or until shanks are tender. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately, with sauce ladled over Basil-Mashed Potatoes. Serve with Sauteed Fennel and Leeks.
Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
Yield:About 2/3 cup
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Recipe from New New Orleans Cooking, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.
In a saucepan combine potatoes with enough water to cover by 1 inch and add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Drain potatoes in a colander. Add butter and milk to the saucepan and heat until butter is melted. Return potatoes to the saucepan, add sour cream, and mash with a potato masher until desired smoothness is achieved. Season with more salt (if necessary) and black pepper. Stir in chopped basil and serve immediately.
Sauteed Fennel and Leeks:
Heat a medium sized saute pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil. Add fennel and saute for 3 minutes, until translucent. Add leeks and season with salt and pepper. Saute until fennel and leeks are tender, another 4 minutes. Add lemon zest and butter and toss. Adjust seasoning and serve.