#51 Shin of Beef Stew

I have heard people talk of the shin cut of beef, and knew it is supposed to be very tasty but very tough – the legs being a well used part of a cow and all. This means long, slow cooking, and after the tough-as-old-boots braised brisket I’d done a while ago, I thought I’d get this recipe wrong too…but how wrong I was! I tell you what I did first…

I trimmed the fat and the very sinewy parts of the meat before cutting them into big chunks and tossing them in three tablespoons of seasoned flour, then I browned them in dripping in a stockpot. You can have your gas turned up to the max here -don’t be shy! When browned, I added enough beef stock to cover the pieces of meat and added one sliced onion and two good sized sliced carrots. For extra flavour, I also added a bouquet garnei of parsley, thyme and bay leaves, a glass of red wine and 3 cloves of garlic (left whole). All this was simmered for two hours and allowed to cool so that the fat could be skimmed off. That was it! Serve with some more veg – I did potatoes and turnips.

#51 Shin of beef stew: 8/10. Simple, cheap and very tasty. I know the red wine is extravagant, but this would still be lovely without. The meat was wonderfully tender and the not at all gristly (I only got one chewy bit!). Because I don’t eat meat that often, it’s such a treat to get some good quality properly treated meat like this. That butcher in Levenshulme is a keeper!

There is plenty left over, and today I am about to eat the rest! The original recipe doesn’t mention doing anything else to it, but Jane mentions that it is best eaten the day after, and also it can be reduced down to a think unctuous gravy. It is bubbling as I type! Reducing the stock to make it a sauce is definitely the right way to go. See this future post to see how it turned out….

While the cat’s away…

…the mice gorge themselves on meat!

I awoke very late on Saturday morning with a stinking hangover. I was supposed to be at work by ten o’clock, and it was almost twelve. Oh dear. I was secretly happy that I didn’t have to go in though. A small snooze later and I felt fine, and since I was at Greg’s flat in Manchester Centre (I was far too drunk to bus it home the night before) I thought I would get something nice and meaty from the Arndale Market and get Joff round.

On arriving, I found that there’s only a cheap butchers there now selling massive trays of meat for £2 a pop. Not good. The fishmonger there is excellent, and so I had a look round. I bought a couple of nice Manx kippers (I don’t like buying fresh fish on a weekend as it’s usually been there since Monday). Wasn’t sure what to do about the meat, and I’d promised meat to Joff.

I arrived home and though I’d have a look in the butcher’s shop in Levenshulme expecting it to be similar to the one in the market, but how wrong I was! I briefly talked to the chap inside, and he said that they get most of their stuff in whole and butcher it properly on site. They were getting ready to shut up shop, but the beef laid out looked very rich and red, not like the strange translucent pink meat you see in the supermarkets. I bought some shin of beef whilst I was there.

Now I had the main ingredients for a two-course feast: (#50) Kipper paste and (#51) shin of beef stew.