Friday, February 25, 2011


I'm still in pursuit of a beef vegetable soup like the one my mother used to make, so when I saw shin beef in the supermarket, I picked up a few packages. What I really liked about my mother's dish was not the soup, but what she did with the extra meat she made. She'd fry it up with peppers and onions and it made incredible sandwiches. Given that my last attempt did not produce the desired results, I decided to just cook the shin beef, low and slow, and see if the meat tasted like what I remembered.  On eHOW, I found some good information on what shin beef is and how best to cook it. I adapted their directions slightly.

First of all, shin beef is from the lower front leg of beef cattle and is sometimes referenced as beef shank. Because shin beef is taken from well-developed muscle that has a high percentage of connective tissue, it is extremely tough. However, if braised slowly with aromatic vegetables and herbs, shin beef makes a delicious and economical meal.

3-4 lbs. shin beef, including bone 
 4 tbs. olive oil
 sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbs. flour
2 bay leaves
2 springs of rosemary 
3 cloves chopped garlic 
1 medium chopped onion o
2 celery stalks chopped 
3 chopped carrots 
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes 
2 tbs. tomato paste 
1/2 cup red wine
 2 cups beef borth 
2 tbs. chopped Italian parsley, for garnish

  • Season the meat with salt and pepper, sprinkle with flour. Heat 2 tbs. oil in a Dutch oven until it begins to shimmer. Then add the meat and saute until it's brown on all sides.Work in batches so the pan is not overcrowded. Remove the browned meat to a bowl.

  • Heat the remaining 2 tbs. of olive oil in the Dutch oven and saute the chopped vegetables and the herbs until the vegetables begin to turn translucent and tender. Once the vegetables begin to soften, scrape the contents of the skillet into the bowl with the beef.

  • Return the Dutch oven to the stove and deglaze the pan with the red wine, scrapping the bottom of the pan to dissolve the brown bits. Add the tomato paste and reduce for one minute. Add the beef broth, tomatoes, beef and vegetablesand bring to a boil.

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

  •  Put the covered pot in the oven for three hours. Remove the meat and vegetables from the pot; discard the bones; and place the Dutch oven over a medium flame and reduce the pot liquid; then pour it over the meat. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
  • The sauce in this dish could be a meal on its own, it's that good.  Shin beef is leaner than short ribs, so there was no need to skim fat from the sauce. Thick with the vegetables, it's the kind of sauce that you want to mop up with slices of good bread. The meat was meltingly tender and the whole dish perfect for a cold, wintry night. Served over pasta, it was delicious. It would be equally delicious over mashed potatoes or polenta or just on its own with the aforementioned good bread.


    1. That looks amazingly rich, hearty and delicious. Wow. Thanks for sharing.


    2. So curious - becaue I have never seen shin beef - and I thought I had seen all cuts. This looks so warming and inviting and it has so many uses - I shall investigate.

    3. OMG, wipe the drool off my keyboard

    4. oh wow, this looks so rich and delicious!

    5. This sounds so good. I live in a very small city so I know I'll have trouble getting the shin beef. Fortunately I am a great nag, so I'll just keep at the butcher until he gives in and orders it for me. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

    6. Gorgeous! This looks like the perfect hearty meal. I have some local beef shank in the fridge and I am excited to cook with it. ;-)

    7. wow, yummm! thanks for sharing. looks divine :)

    8. This is a beautiful recipe Arlene! The shin beef sounds like it's every bit as delicious as short ribs, but easier to work with (less fat and all). I will make it a point to look for some because this looks stunning.

    9. I love finding recipes that allow me to turn an economical cut of something into a delicious meal! Thanks so much Arlene :-)


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