A while ago, my Irish blogger friend, Conor Boffin, did a very nice post featuring Braised Beef Shanks he called Daub of Beef. I remembered that I still had some beef shank in my freezer and I decided to use his dish as an inspiration for something along the same lines. I have chosen a very nice Merlot for my wine addition, and I am also using a little Madeira as well. Unlike Conor, I am not using fresh mushrooms, but I do add some chopped, reconstituted Shiitake early on and I also add some diced carrot towards the end. This dish turned out as nicely as I am sure was Conor’s… [
To make this recipe, all you need is the Beef Shank, of course, plus some onion, carrot, reconstituted Shiitake mushrooms, a good quality red wine , some Madeira (or sherry if you like), and a good quality beef stock.
A good beef stock is essential to this preparation (as in Conor’s recipe). I had two Beef Shanks and I decided to use one to make my stock as this cut REALLY produces a great result… the large amount of collagen allows it to gel nicely when cold so it is very rich and hearty. If you aren’t inclined to make beef stock from scratch, then I would suggest substituting chicken stock rather than canned beef stock… I have yet to find a decent version of the latter. I made mine with carrots and onions, parsley and garlic.
First, brown your shank in a little oil over moderate heat, starting with the fatty edges. It is a good idea to slash through the fat and underlying fascia in a few places to stop the cut from curling.
After you have browned the meat, remove it to a dish and add your onions and mushrooms to the pan along with a generous amount of red wine. Stir to deglaze and let the wine reduce until it has almost completely evaporated.
Now put the meat back in to the pan and pour over beef stock to cover. Turn the heat to low and let it all simmer away.
The length of time you need to cook the shank will depend on the thickness, but the idea is to allow it to get nice and tender without leaching put too much of the flavour. I let mine go for about an hour and a half but it could have gone another half-hour or so. During the process, as the liquid level drops, you might want to turn the shank occasionally to keep the top from drying out.
Towards the end of the cooking time, add in diced carrot and cook just until tender. If you like, you can also add some sectioned scallion green for a little color.
For service, I made some mashed turnip (which is my potato substitute these days). Some greens would be a nice compliment as well.