Monique Fay’s Succulent “Slow Food” Beef Shank Stew

This winter stew epitomizes everything that I love about this season. The house fills with delicious smells as it simmers slowly on the stove. This is one of my mother’s specialties; a recipe handed down by a family friend that she has crafted to her own over time. It is a perfect dish for a chilly, blustery day.

Makes 8 servings

  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 6 pieces beef shank (preferably local grass-fed beef)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cloves per beef shank
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 pinches sugar
  • 4–6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 pound organic carrots, peeled and chopped

Pour some olive oil into a large roasting pan (the pan should just hold the beef shanks in a single layer) and add in the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook over medium-high heat until lightly browned, 5–6 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the onion mixture and set aside in a small bowl. Raise the temperature in the roasting pan and add in the shanks. Cook over high heat until well browned on all sides—this takes at least 5 minutes per side. Add salt and pepper during the browning process.

Reduce the heat and then add in the chopped tomatoes, cloves, the onion mixture that had been set aside, sugar and enough vegetable stock to barely cover the shanks. Bring the stock to a strong simmer.

As soon as the stock comes to a strong simmer, reduce the heat to low and cover, leaving a small gap for the steam to escape, and cook for 4 hours. During the cooking time you need to turn the pieces over—usually once an hour. At this point you should be able to cut the meat with a spoon.

Add in the carrots and cook for a further hour. After an hour turn off the heat and let the stew “rest” for at least an hour more.

Before reheating the stew, skim the surface of any fats that have risen up. Reheat very slowly—this will take about 20 minutes.

Serve in warmed plates with steamed new potatoes and/or warm bread.

Categories Main Dishes
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