Beef shank is one of those cuts of meat that may intimidate you if you’ve never cooked it. Never fear! Mark and Maggie Reinke – happy, long time customers and philosophical supporters of Polyface – are here today to show you the wonders of beef shank.
It all began when I noticed they would stop in to Polyface about once a month and buy us out of beef shank. They raved about it and I felt like I was missing out on something. Recently, I asked them to share their cooking method, and folks? It is outrageous. The Reinkes encouraged me to share the love here on the blog and all I can say is, PLEASE. Do yourself a favor and try this soon! It might even be a great weekend-after-Thanksgiving meal, as it’s something that cooks low and slow all day with not a lot of hands-on time.
There are a couple of ways to do it, so here’s the “template” rather than the recipe:
1. Using a dutch oven:
Season the whole shank, all sides, top and bottom, with salt and pepper.
a) the fancy way – Heat dutch oven over med/high on stove. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. Brown all sides of shank. This adds a nice “Maillard” reaction/caramelization to the dish, but isn’t necessary if you’re busy;
b) the faster, easier and still awesome way – ignore the browning step
2. Your braising liquid:
If you browned: remove shank from dutch oven. Add about 1/2 cup red wine or dark beer to hot dutch oven to deglaze, then add remainder of braising liquid and put shank back in.
Add to dutch oven:
10-14 oz beer or wine (Note from the Reinkes: we prefer red wine over white wine in this, as well as a “malty” beer…a hoppy beer seems to leave a residual bitterness that can be off putting. Brown ales, amber ales, oatmeal or chocolate stouts are our favorites)
1 quart (give or take) of broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce or Tamari
4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled, partly smashed
1 8″-10″ sprig of fresh Rosemary (or about 2-3 tsp dried)
Put in oven, tightly covered, at 200 degrees for 5-7 hours depending on size. Check at 5 hours, turn and put back in if necessary.
This can also be done in a roasting pan in the case of a larger shank, but be sure its tightly covered.
The Reinkes usually serve with mashed potatoes or pureed turnips and some type of steamed veggies.
Big hugs and high-fives to Mark and Maggie for sharing their secrets! They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you cooked beef shank before? What method did you use?