Bountiful Braise Unlocking the Richness of Beef Shank

Estimated read time 4 min read

When it comes to cooking with beef, most people tend to stick with the standard cuts like steaks, ground beef, and roasts. However, there is one cut of beef that often gets overlooked but packs a lot of flavor and richness – the beef shank.

The beef shank is a tough yet flavorful cut from the leg of the cow. It’s known for its large marrow bone and deep red meat that is full of collagen. Collagen is what gives this cut its rich and gelatinous texture when cooked low and slow.

If you’ve never cooked with beef shank before, you might be intimidated by its size and toughness. But fear not, because once you know how to properly cook it, this cut can be transformed into a melt-in-your-mouth dish that will leave your taste buds singing.

Enter the bountiful braise method – a cooking technique that unlocks the true potential of this underrated cut of beef.

Braising involves slow-cooking meat in liquid at low temperatures until it becomes tender. This method not only breaks down tough cuts like the beef shank but also infuses them with flavors from herbs, spices, vegetables or wine used in the braising liquid.

To start your bountiful braise journey with beef shank as your main ingredient, first preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C). Meanwhile prep your ingredients – choose flavorful herbs such as rosemary or thyme; chop up aromatic vegetables like onion or garlic; pour yourself a glass of red wine to add some depth to your dish; and have some good quality stock ready on hand too.

Next comes searing – an important step when braising any kind of meat because it creates a nice crust on its exterior while locking in all those juices inside. Pat dry each piece of seasoned (with salt & pepper) shanks then heat oil over medium-high heat in an oven-safe Dutch oven pot or cast-iron skillet. Sear beef shanks on each side for about 2-3 minutes until browned.

Now it’s time to add in all those flavorful ingredients you prepped earlier. First, add your choice of herbs and allow them to become fragrant for a minute or two. Then comes your aromatics – onions, garlic – sauté until softened and golden. Finally, pour in the red wine, deglazing the pan by scraping up any brown bits from searing and allowing the alcohol to cook off a bit.

Once everything is well incorporated, it’s time to add in your liquid base – beef stock or bone broth along with some canned tomatoes if you prefer richer flavors – which should submerge just over half of your seared beef shanks within the pot.

Finally, season with salt & pepper again as needed before placing onto the lower shelf of your preheated oven baking for approx 3 hours (on conventional setting) or longer until the meat has completely tenderized on low heat. After approximately an hour into cooking get down back into close proximity every next half-hour every now and then basting with remaining braise sauce whilst ensuring that nothing is overcooked; leaving roasted vegetables intact help thickening up sauces enjoyably fabricating delicious vivid flavor profiles forming nice brisket crackling at times although not overly full-on crackling.

After a few hours of braising in this rich concoction of flavors and slow-cooked love, your beef shank will be transformed into a succulent dish that will leave you wanting more. The collagen will have dissolved into gelatin giving this cut its signature tenderness while infusing all those amazing flavors from the herbs, vegetables and wine used.

Whether served atop creamy mashed potatoes or bundled up in layers of fresh pasta sheets as cannelloni please remember that leftover braise sauce can also poach meats whole grains legumes potatoes casseroles stews along with repurposed various other warm dishes as well goes delightfully not simply reheating leftover gravy later. So the next time you see beef shank at your local grocery store, don’t overlook it – instead, unlock its richness and transform it into a bountiful braise that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

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