Braised Beef Shanks

Yes, Mrs. Vino knows that braising takes a looooooonnnnngggggg time.  But most of this is completely hands off.  No really.  Don’t lift the lid and peek.  Keep your hands off!  This recipe actually only has about 10 minutes of active cooking – and the way your house will smell is totally worth it.

BRAISED BEEF SHANKS
Serve with 2012 Dolcetto (also good with the Merlot)

2 1/2 lbs of beef short ribs or cross-cut beef shanks
1/4 c. flour
1 t. salt (plus more to taste at very end of dish)
1 t. granulated garlic (garlic powder – if using garlic salt, omit the salt referenced above)
1/2 t. black pepper
1 T canola oil
a 1-gallon zip lock bag
1 small onion sliced thinly
1 Bay leaf
1/2 C beef broth
1/2 C red wine

Mrs. Vino loves a good braise! This long, slow cooking method doesn’t have to be hard. Put the flour, garlic, salt and pepper into the gallon zip lock bag. Heat a sauteuse pan over medium high heat (that’s a round pan with a thick bottom, a cover and 3-4″ tall sides) and then add the Canola Oil and heat til it shimmers. While the oil is heating, put the shanks/short ribs in the zip lock bag, seal and toss with flour mixture to coat (it’s best if you do the meat one piece at a time). Remove the meat, shake off excess flour and place in the hot oil. Brown all sides of the meat (The secret to good browning is not to move the meat – let is sit on each side for at least 3-4 minutes – no peeking. You can smell it if it starts to burn and it will release from the pan as it starts to brown. If it sticks or you feel like you have to force it, it’s not browned yet.)

When the meat is completely browned, add the broth, Bay leaf, wine and sliced onion to the pan. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and let braise for 2 1/2 hours. Check the pan after a few minutes, you are looking for a simmer – not a boil). Once it is simmering, leave it alone.  No peeking needed. After 2 1/2 hours, remove the lid, carefully take the meat out of the pan (it will be fall apart tender) and keep it warm, then adjust the sauce/gravy as needed. Depending on how lean your meat is, you might need to add extra wine or you might need to turn the heat up to a boil to thicken/reduce. When the sauce is to the consistency you like, remove the Bay leaf and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve the meat with roasted or mashed potato (polenta is also yummy) and cover everything with the sauce. Comfort food at its easiest/most affordable.

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