I love a juicy display of gorgeous meat and couldn’t resist the enormous beef shanks on a recent wander through Brixton market. I also grabbed some cheap red wine, potatoes and veg to throw together into a rich, slow-cooked stew perfect for a cold Sunday. The shanks are big slabs of beef surrounding a section of the leg bone with all the lovely marrow still in, and these are from A.M Butchers on Atlantic Road.
This cut is from the top of the leg of the cow and works quite hard, meaning the muscle is strong and the meat’s tough if you cook it quickly. But given a few hours on a low heat it fall to pieces and the fat will melt and create a rich, delicious sauce.
This is perfect with some creamy mash and robust veg like cavolo nero, and I also roasted some carrots. Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge and are almost better the next day.
Serves 2 with some leftovers:
- 1 beef shank (about 700g including the bone)
- 1 bottle cheap red wine
- 1 litre beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- Few sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 stick celery
- 2 carrots
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 red onion
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 70 degrees. Season the flour generously and dust the outside of the shank with it. Heat some oil in a frying pan until very hot and brown the meat for 5 minutes on each side until there’s a really good crust. I’m such a fiddler I have to force myself to leave things alone in this situation, but it’s worth it – it won’t crust as well otherwise and that’s what gives it a great flavour.
Once the meat’s browned take it out and put in a casserole dish. Add the carrots, onion, garlic, celery, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves to the pan and fry gently until the onions are soft and slightly browned, then add the wine and stock. Let it bubble away for 15 minutes or so until it’s educed slightly then add to the pan with the beef.
Cover and put in the low oven for 6-8 hours, or until the sauce is rich and the meat soft and falling apart. Serve with mash and whichever veg you like.
*A version of this post first appeared on the fab Brixton Blog