Yesterday I cooked a beef shank; it was a really nice looking piece of meat with a nice big bone that promised some marrow. I love shanks, they're a really great cut of meat to braise. Which is really the only way I know of to cook them (I'm open to suggestions though.) Lamb shanks are what I normally think of when craving this cut, so it was nice to see a different kind of meat. I don't really have a plan for the meat when it's done, maybe shred it for a filing in some ravioli, maybe tear it into nice big chunks and make a hash with it this weekend.
Nice lookin' bone.
The idea is to braise it in a bottle of IPA with just a few handfuls of diced onions, some salt and some cracked black pepper. If I keep the flavours simple then I can fit this meat into a larger variety of dishes. I started by searing the shank on both sides in a braising dish then took it out and let it rest while I cooked the onions until translucent and just taking on some colour. I used olive oil, but a combo of olive oil and butter for the searing would be even better.
Once the onions are just right the shank goes back in with a bottle of beer poured on top.
Bubbling in beer.
Once everything is at a nice simmer put the lid on your braising dish and stick it in a 325 degree oven. This shank took about 2 1/2 hours, you'll know when it's tender and you can easily stick a knife in it.
Because there really isn't a plan for this shank I'm just going to let it cool in the braising dish, then stick it in the fridge. Maybe I'll make shredded beef taco's for dinner tonight, or even thin out the cooking juices with some stock and use the beef to make a nice rich beef and barley stew.
Either way the beef is very tender and very beefy, the cooking juices have bone marrow melted through to make a very hearty, if very bitter stock. Both elements have the opportunity to be turned into something yummy, the hard part is deciding what.