This classic braised beef shank recipe dates back to the 19th century Northern Italy and it really is the perfect evening meal for any occasion.
Traditionally, it’s veal, but the beef is far less expensive and I think, just as good.
You can do this recipe with shank cubes, but the bone gives it so much extra flavor and it will fall apart into a stew like the chunks will. You also have the added benefit of being able to eat the bone marrow.
Skip the potatoes if you like, and serve this over polenta or noodles.
1 large (5-pound) bone-in beef shanks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (12-ounce) bottles lager
4 cups chicken stock
2 whole onions, peeled and quartered
4 large carrots, peeled and ends removed
2 whole heads garlic
4 ribs of celery
1 pound small potatoes
6 sprigs fresh rosemary, divided
2 bay leaves
1 (750ml) bottle dry red wine
½ cup Port wine
4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 350.
Sprinkle the beef shanks with salt and pepper, making sure to coat all sides. In a large cast-iron Dutch oven with a heavy lid, add the shanks.
Pour in the beer and 2 cups of the chicken stock, and place all of the vegetables in the pot.
Add rosemary sprigs and the bay leaves. Place in the oven for 4 hours, turning the meat over after 2 hours. (after 1 or two hours, invert the garlic heads so the cloves fall into the pot, discarding the peel.)
Once the meat has cooked the full 4 hours, remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Move the shanks and the liquid to the refrigerator overnight or for at least 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350. Remove the meat and liquids from the refrigerator, and skim the fat from the top of the liquids and discard.
Add the red wine and additional 2 cups of chicken stock. Place the meat and liquid back into the oven for 4 hours, turning the meat once at the half-way point.
Remove from the oven and check for doneness. The meat should be about falling off the bone. If needed, return to the oven for additional cooking.
Remove the meat and veggies and place in a bowl covered with foil. Drain off all the braising liquid into a saucepan. Over high heat, bring the liquids to a boil and add the Port wine. Turn down the heat to a simmer and cook the liquids until it reduces by half. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper if necessary.
Make a slurry by combining the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir until dissolved and then add to the sauce.
Turn the heat to high and let it come to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir until the sauce thickens to coat the back of a spoon.
Add butter and stir until dissolved into the sauce. Remove from the heat and keep warm until serving.
A note: These large shanks will have connective tissue running all the way up the bone. But don;t worry. As it cooks, the tissue will fall away cleanly exposing the bone. The cut of your shanks and the size of your cooking vessel will change the amount of liquid (beer + stock) that you will need. You do not want to cover the meat and boil it. You want to braise the meat with much of the surface exposed, so don’t come more than halfway up the side of meat with the liquid. During cooking, check periodically to see that you still have enough liquid in the pot.
Feel like being good to yourself tonight? Pick up a bottle of 1858 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley.