Braised Beef Shank with Potatoes, Carrots, and Cauliflower
Beef shanks are horizontal cuts from the front leg of the cow. They have a lot of connective tissue, which dissolves into a gelatinous broth. This cut of beef is often inexpensive and very flavorful.
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 3-4
- 2 pieces beef shank, 2" thick
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon dry peppercorns
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 5-ounce can tomato paste
- 2 quarts water
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and chunked
- ½ head cauliflower, cut into chunks
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
Bring the meat to room temperature. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and oil. Once it is heated, sear the meat on each side for 4 minutes. Add the peppercorns to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Add the onion to the pan and place the meat on top of the onion.
Stir the tomato paste into the water. Add it to the skillet with the balsamic vinegar. Bring the broth to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Once it reduces to a simmer, skim off the foam and discard. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Cover the pan and cook for 3½–4 hours. Remove the meat and keep warm.
Strain the stock and return it to the pan. Add the garlic, carrots, potatoes, and cauliflower to the pan. Place it over medium heat and cook for 30 minutes, uncovered. Continue to skim off any foam as it cooks. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Separate the beef into pieces and pour the sauce over the meat. Serve with vegetables on the side.
Cauliflower, the Cabbage Flower
Cauliflower is actually a member of the cabbage family and is also related to mustard. It is most commonly found as a white vegetable but can also be purple or orange. To choose the best head of cauliflower, look for produce that doesn't have brown markings or curds that seem loose. A tightly packed head is freshest.