Braised Beef Shanks

Braised Beef Shank – Osso Bucco

We would all make more economical meals if we could be assured that they would be tasty.  Somehow, we relate “cheap” with “bad” and this can make us spend more money at the grocery store on namebrand items or expensive cuts of meat that may or may not be worth the money.

However, working with some economical meat cuts, a little time and a few ingredients, you can put a very flavorful meal on your family’s table for a very good price that will totally taste like something expensive.

One of my favorite ways to cook a less expensive cut of meat is using the braising method.  Braising means to cook in liquid for a long period at low temperature.  Perfect for your crockpot, oven or just on the lowest simmer on your stove top.  A great dish to make on the weekend, while you’re doing all those other catch-up chores.  Picture a simmering pot of stew, or fork tender meat that makes it’s own flavorful gravy as it simmers in broth, wine or in this case beer.

This shank recipe will serve four people, one shank per person.  They are typically on sale for less than $2.00 per pound, whereas Osso Bucco, the veal version of this dish can run upwards of $7-15.00 per pound for veal shank.  A drastic difference.  By the way, while most people think Osso Bucco is only made with veal, the translation is osso meaning “marrowbone” and bucco meaning “hole”.  So technically, osso bucco just means a cut of meat including the marrowbone (as marrow bones have a hole in the middle where the marrow resides).

Braised Beef in Beer – by Debra Crawford
Serves 4

4 –     Beef Shanks
2 –     Medium Carrots, Diced
1 –     Large Onion, Diced
2 –     Stalks Celery, Diced
4 –     Garlic Cloves, Diced
2 –     Sprigs Fresh Rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
4 –  6 Sprigs Fresh Thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1 – 2  14 Ounce Cans Beef Broth
1 –     Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1 –     6 Ounce Can Tomato Paste (see note below)
1 –     12 Ounce Can Medium Dark Beer
Olive Oil for Searing
Salt and Pepper

Rice or Noodles to serve with your dish

Salt and pepper shanks thoroughly on both sides.  In a large pot, heat on high, add 2 – 3 Tablespoons olive oil and sear the shanks two at a time until each side is dark golden brown, this will take about five minutes aside.  (You want a nice bit of color here).  When the shanks are all brown, remove from pot and set aside.

Add carrots, onions and celery to the pot and cook about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften.  Deglaze the pan with 1 can of the beef broth, scrapping any bits from the bottom.  Add the rosemary, thyme and garlic.  Lay shanks on top of this mixture and then pour the beer over the top.  If the shanks are not covered, you can add additional beef broth until they are mostly covered.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to the lowest simmer and allow to cook for at least four hours, until the meat easily separates from the bone.  Turn the meat approximately every hour so that it cooks evenly.  Remove rosemary and thyme stems prior to serving.

Serve over rice or noodles.  If you want to make this a little closer to Osso Bucco, you can mince a couple garlic cloves, some lemon zest and minced parsley, salt and pepper and sprinkle lightly over the top.

NOTE:   This recipe does not include tomato product as my guest was allergic.  If you would like you can add one 6-oz can of tomato paste when you add the liquids to the pan and this will give you a richer broth.

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