Jack is Cooking: Beef Shank Bourguignon

Well Hello Internet!

I’ve got another beef shank recipe here, this one is based on the classic Beef Bourguignon, the famed french dish which Julia Child was so fond of.  It’s so classic in fact that there’s really not much to change, but usually this would be made with a different cut of beef.  I however love beef shanks because of the delicious marrow filled bones.  I have discovered that any kind of stew, or meat dish that needs to be cooked for several hours benefits immensely from the addition of bones while its cooking.  Theres something special that happens, that i am sure there is some scientific explanation for, but it makes a huge difference not only in terms of flavor, but also in the tenderness of the meat.

The bones are removed at the end, so you still get the classic presentation – you can serve this on its own, with potatoes, rice, or my favorite – with noodles.

This dish can be made on the stove in a heavy pan, but again i used my wonderful slow cooker.  I even did all the prep work the night before, and then put everything in the slow cooker in the morning.  When i came home 6 hours later, it was just about done!

So here’s what you will need:

-1/2 lb Bacon – JACüTERIE Italian Bacon works great here!
-2 lbs Beef Shanks – Meat cut off the bone into chunks
-2 carrots sliced
-1 onion sliced
-1 clove garlic diced-3 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
-3 or 4 sprigs thyme
-3 cups Red wine (i used chianti)
-3 cups beef stock
-2 tblspns tomato paste
-10 small pearl onions
-1/2 lb mushrooms
Butter to cook with.

First – cook the bacon until it’s nicely browned. Strain the bacon but retain the drippings.

Then in some of the retained bacon drippings sauté the onions, carrots and garlic

Set the onions and carrots aside.

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Using some more of the bacon drippings, brown the beef and the bones on all sides until they have a dark brown crust, but aren’t cooked all the way through. Set the beef aside.

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Everything else just has to be portioned out!

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I get everything ready the night before, so in the morning I can just throw it all in the slow cooker quickly!

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Later that day, about an hour before you are ready to serve, the pearl onions and mushrooms need to be made.

For the onions remove some of the juice from the slow cooker, and slowly cook the onions in the juice for about 45 minutes.

Sauté the mushrooms in butter until they are nicely browned. Set these aside for now.

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The last step, strain the meat from the liquid so that the bones can be removed. Set the liquid in a pot over the stove and cook on a higher heat to reduce the liquid and thicken it up a little.

Once it has reduced by one third, add the meat back, the pearl onions and the mushrooms.

Serve with potatos, rice, or noodles!

Yum!

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Well Hello Internet!

I recently got a nice slow cooker, so i’ve been experimenting with it quite a bit.  One of the first things i made in it was some awesome beef broth, which i used to make a Vietnamese pho with.

Pho is basically a soup, except you can put whatever you want in it.  the most important thing to have is a delicious broth to begin with, and it has to be super hot!  Then you put some noodles in a bowl, along with any other ingredients you want – meat, vegetables, peppers, sauces, and/or oils before pouring the piping hot broth over.  The broth cooks all the veggies and you have one delicious meal.

Here are the ingredients for my beef shank broth:
This is good for about 4 bowls of soup

5 cups of water
1 large beef shank or 2 small beef shanks (about 1.5 lbs bone included).
1 onion (sliced)
1 inch fresh ginger (sliced)
1/2 tspn fennel seed
2 or 3 cloves
1 cardamom pod
5 cups water
1/2 Tbspn Better than Boullion (Beef) {this stuff is great.  much better than the cubes}
1 Tbspn fish sauce
salt to taste
1/2 tspn Sugar

Theres just a few steps to take care of before throwing it all into the slow cooker.  This could also be done on a stove in a heavy pot or dutch oven.

The first thing to do is to cut the meat off of the bones, and cut into bite size pieces.  Set a pot of water to boil, and add the bones and the pieces of meat.  Cook just for 2 or 3 minutes. This is just to blanch the bones and the meat, a lot of scum will come out and settle on the top of the water.  Scoop this away and discard.  This prevents the broth from becoming cloudy.

While the bones and meat are in the water, place the onion and ginger in the oven on broil just until they get a little brown. (about 3-4 minutes)

If you are adventurous enough to have 3 things going, take a small skillet and toast all the spices over a medium heat.  After toasting take a piece of cheese cloth, or spice bag and tie all the spices up in a neat bundle.  This also makes the broth wonderfully flavorful, but prevents the broth from clouding also.

Remove the bones and the meat from the water and discard the water.  Place the meat and bones in your slow cooker, or in a heavy cast stove pot.  Throw in the 5 cups of water, the spice packet, the roasted onions and ginger,  the fish sauce, beef bouillon, salt, and sugar, set the slow cooker on low and let it cook for about 6 hours.   If you are doing it on the stove, set the stove to the lowest it can go, and cook for at least 2 or 3 hours – replenishing some water if you need to.

After 6 hours take the broth and strain it into a pot over the stove.  Discard the bones and spice packet, and set aside the meat.

Bring the strained broth to a rolling boil and get ready your bowls of other ingredients.

The particular pho that i made, i did so with meat, onions, and ginger from the shanks, rice noodles, bokchoy, cabbage, and pickled jalapeños.

Place everything nicely in the bowl, and then pour the piping hot broth over.  The broth will instantly cook all the veggies.  Garnish with some sesame seeds, crushed red pepper, and a little sesame oil.

yum!

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