Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Classic Red Wine-Braised Beef Shanks

Braising beef in red wine is a classic treatment, and with good reason.  I used beef shanks from our cow share, but virtually any good braising cut would work here: shanks, short ribs, even pot roast.  Serve this with mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

2 1/2 - 3 lbs beef shanks (about 3 large)
Canola oil
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 small onion, quartered
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
Beef stock

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Coat the beef all over with oil, then sprinkle liberally on all sides with salt and pepper.  Brown well in the oven, 10-15 minutes per side.  (You can do this on the stovetop if you prefer, but I find it too smoky.)

While the beef browns in the oven, heat a little canola oil in a Dutch oven or other large pot.  Add the garlic, onion, and carrot and brown them a bit.  Stir in the thyme.  When the veggies are browned, deglaze the pan with the wine, then reduce heat to a simmer while you wait (if necessary) for the beef to finish browning.

When the beef is browned, add it to the pot with the vegetables and wine.  Add enough beef stock to cover the meat about three quarters of the way.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to very low and simmer for 2-3 hours.  The beef is done when it is very tender and falling off the bones.

To serve, remove the beef from the pot and separate it from the bones.  Cut into pieces if desired, and remove any excess connective tissue that remains.  If you want to get fancy, you can strain the braising liquid then return it to the stove and reduce it to make a sauce.  Otherwise, just serve the meat over mashed potatoes or noodles with a spoonful of braising liquid poured over.

Serves about 4.

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