Tender, ‘fall off the shank’, chunks of beef, braised in wine and Mediterranean spices, herbs, and root veggies.
What Is Beef Shank?
Beef shank is a cut of meat taken from the leg of cattle. While a gorgeous cut of meat, there is very little fat.
Fat content on a beef shank is low and muscle fiber is high, which can produce a tough cut of meat.
Cooking a beef shank properly is definitely worth knowing how to do, simply because this cut of meat also tends to be less expensive.
Beef Shank vs Osso Bucco
Ever go to your butcher to purchase Osso Bucco and find yourself sticker shocked at the price?
Well, that’s because Osso Bucco is veal; the shank of a baby cow. Wait till that calf gets bigger and becomes a steer and the price drops!
Seems odd to me that veal costs so much more than beef when a farmer has to pay lots to feed and raise it.
Tender, you say? Honestly, just about any cut of meat can be tender, depending on how you prepare it.
Buying Beef Shank
Often times, you will find beef shank already cut into sections, packaged and ready to purchase.
At a butcher shop or quality grocery store, you can often find the shank still whole. On this occasion, it was this gorgeous cut of meat in the glass counter, that caught my eye.
Bone in and a huge chunk of meat wrapped around the bone, is how I found this cut. I had to have it. I believe it was about 5 pounds total and the cost was under $25.00.
Mediterranean Style Cooking Of Meat
Dating back to ancient time, where Mediterranean cooking comes from, the art of preparing inexpensive, tough cuts of meat into tender succulent dishes, was born.
Herbs, spices, wine, olive oil, braising the meat and slow simmering it, as in a Tajine, is the way tender cuts of meat were created.
A big ole Tomahawk? Now that’s a different story. Brazilians are the best at cooking that cut of meat:
- Heavily seasoned in coarse salt. Left out to begin to rot and then throw that hunk of meat on a hellish fire. Perfection!
How To Cook Mediterranean Beef Shank
First, you will want to rub the meat well with coarse salt and herbs; preferably fresh herbs that still have their oil in them. Thyme or oregano are usually my preference.
Secondly, simply let the seasoned meat sit out room temperature for about an hour. The worst way to cook meat, is right out of the fridge. Inside is cold, outside gets the heat first… no, not a good approach.
While waiting on the meat, chop your onions, smash the garlic, chop up some celery, carrots and potatoes. Toss these veggies in a little olive oil, salt and herbs.
Third and ready to cook step; get a heavy pot with a lid (Dutch oven type), hellishly hot. Drizzle a little olive oil and a pat of butter into the pan, remember the meat has little fat.
Toss that big ole shank into the pan. Sear it hard on all sides and remove it. Now the simmering steps:
- Add the seasoned veggies to the hot pan with a little more olive oil, toss them around, then lower the heat.
- Pour in the wine.
- Put the meat back in, lower the heat, lid on.
- Let this simmer on low for about an hour.
- Remove the cover and reduce the stock until velvety.
- Beef shank – whole or cut
- Coarse salt
- Olive oil
- Fresh Thyme or Rosemary
- Red wine
- Chili pepper
- Beef broth
- Large cast iron pan with a lid or a Dutch-oven
- Cutting board
- Chopping knife
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Slotted spoon
- Stovetop or burner
Mediterranean Beef ShankCourse: MeatCuisine: Mediterranean
Fall-off-the-shank beef, braised in wine and Mediterranean spices, herbs and root veggies.
Beef Shank (s) – 1 large or 4 cut (3-5 pounds total)
Coarse salt – to taste
Olive oil – 3 tbsp
Butter – 2 tbsp
Onion, celery – 1 cup each, chopped
Carrots – 2 cups, rough chopped
Potatoes – 3 cups, rough chopped
Garlic – 3 cloves
Thyme or Rosemary – 1 bundle
Red wine – 1/2 bottle
Chili pepper – 1 small, finely chopped
Beef broth – 12 oz
- Rub the salt and some of the herb leaves into the beef. Allow the beef to sit out at room temperature for an hour.
- Meanwhile, chop the onions and celery, set aside. Finely chop the chili pepper. Cut the carrots and peeled potatoes into 1-inch cubes, toss with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Have beef broth ready.
- Heat a large heavy cast iron or Dutch-oven pan, that has a lid, really hot. Quick drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter into the pan and put the beef in to sear it fast on all sides. Remove the meat.
- Add the remaining oil and butter into the hot pan and caramelize the onions and celery for a minute. Add the carrots, potatoes, chili pepper, remaining herbs and toss in the pan for another minutes. Add the wine, the broth and put the beef back in. Lid on.
- Turn down the heat and cook 45-minutes with the lid on.
- Remove the lid and allow to simmer until the broth reduces to a thick texture, about 15 – 30 minutes.
- If the meat is one large piece, as mine is, remove it, slice it and put the meat and marrow back in the pot. Serve Rustic Style with Pita Flatbread.