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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Braised Beef Shank

1.5 to 2 lbs. bone-in beef shanks (also called bone-in beef hindshank)
2 large shallots, sliced
2 heads of garlic, cut in half horizontally and kept intact
2 cups thick-sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon dry or 2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons dry basil
1 bay leaf
3 cups vegetable stock
3 cubes beef bouillon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup Port wine or Marsala

Heat veggie stock to near boiling in microwave or on stove top, add bouillon cubes, and stir until dissolved. Season all sides of beef shanks with lots of freshly ground black pepper and a light sprinkling of salt. Heat Dutch oven over medium-high until hot, add olive oil and heat for about 30 seconds. Add beef shanks and cook 2 to 4 minutes on each side until well-browned and crusty. Add the thyme, basil, and bay leaf. Sprinkle the shallots evenly around the pan. Add 1/3 cup of the Port or Marsala and gently shake pan. Carefully add the garlic halves and press down a bit so they stay intact. Pour veggie-beef bouillon stock over all. Cover pan, reduce to low or medium-low and simmer for 2 hours.

After 2 hours add mushrooms, then cook for 1 more hour, until meat is falling apart tender.

Check seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Add remaining 1/3 cup Port or Marsala and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes to reduce liquid slightly. Serve and enjoy!

Don’t forget to put the veggie trimmings in your zip-top freezer bag to make veggie stock!

If you don't make homemade veggie stock from your veggie scraps, well, first of all, you're missing out. But seriously, if you don't have homemade veggie stock, you can use any combination of water/broth/stock with bouillon cubes that you like to make 3 cups of flavorful broth for this recipe.

Note: If you're like me (and of course I'm sure you're not, gentle reader) and you fell asleep while you were simmering your homemade turkey broth on the first try and you permanently burned the broth into the bottom of your favorite Dutch oven, you can use your favorite stockpot for this recipe, just be careful to keep the temperature plenty low so as to avoid scorching.

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