Sunday, April 19, 2009

Slow Cooked Beef Shanks

Up front, let me apologize for the lack of pictures. Here are my excuses: 1) This is not a very photogenic dish. 2) I just couldn't be bothered, really.

That being said, dinner was amazing. Here's what you do:

Salt and pepper your beef shanks. I had 4 pieces, 1 to 1.5" thick, somewhere around 2.5 pounds. Dredge in flour, shake off the excess, and brown well. Remove to a plate.

Dice up onion, celery and carrot, about 1/2 cup each. Mince about 3 cloves of garlic. Saute the veggies in a little oil, (in the same pot you browned the shanks in) until nicely caramelized. Mix in a few tablespoons of tomato paste, some smoked paprika, and a couple minced anchovies. Deglaze with a little red wine or broth, scraping up all the happy fond.

OK, I lied about no pictures. Here's a picture of minced garlic.

And here's a picture of fond that I dug up from some previous dinner.

Add about 4 cups of broth and 1/2 cup of red wine. I used a mix of beef and chicken broth. Return the shanks to the pot - you want the liquid to come about halfway up the shanks. Toss in some seasonings - I used thyme, oregano, bay leaf, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. The trick now is to maintain a bare simmer for about 3 hours.

While the shanks are cooking, you can skim the fat from the top. Or (since this is one of those better-the-2nd-day dishes), when the beef is tender, refrigerate overnight, and remove the solidified fat the next day. I also like to refrigerate the cooking liquid separate from the meat, since beef shanks have a lot of fat and gristly weirdness, which I removed prior to mixing back together with the liquid.

Serve over rice, noodles, potatoes, or polenta, or with a nice crusty bread.

You'll most likely have a lot of liquid left over - use it to make French onion soup! Or top your hungry puppy's dinner with it!

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melissa said...

You're funny. The picture of the pup is all that's required anyway. Hee.

It's no different than if I had read this in a magazine with no photo, and it sounds great anyway. I would totally do the refrigerate overnight and remove the fat bit.

Bob said...

That sounds wicked good. I've been wanting to try out shanks, I love braising stuff and they are supposed to be good for that.

Vicki said...

Hey Melissa - Puppy's much cuter than beef shanks :)

Hey Bob - This works well with lamb shanks and beef short ribs too.

Donna said...

Cute puppy.. this sounds terrific and I love that you can use it for French Onion soup.. Awesome idea..

Vicki said...

Hi Donna -
It would've been a shame to toss all that beefy collagenic goodness, had to think of something!