Ms. Glaze’s Braised Beef Shank with Rosemary Polenta

March 1, 2009

beef_shank

I wanted to make a beef dish this weekend to get rid of some of the red wine in the basement.  For some reason I settled on beef shanks.  I really like Ms.Glaze’s blog so I thought I’d give her recipe a try.  I’m not going to repeat the whole recipe here, you can follow the directions at her blog, and I highly encourage you to do so.  The dish is very, very tasty.  Melissa, who doesn’t like beef much, said, “I didn’t know beef could taste this good.”  Our guest Phyllis cleaned up her plate completely, which Mellisa noted she had never seen her do.  Personally I thought it was the best thing that’s come out of our kitchen, since I started this food kick a month ago.  The beef was tender.  The sauce was very flavorful, complex with salty, sweet and tart nuances.  The polenta with the rosemary and Parmesan cheese was just, plain creamy goodness.  Since I had a starch and a meat, I thought I’d round the meal out with a vegetable, and chose green beans.  I found a recipe at Cook’s Illustrated, chosen because one of the ingredients was lemon juice.  I hoped the acid would balance the richness of the rest of the dish, and it did.

The wine

nebbiolo1

I chose a Nebbiolo to go with the meal.  Neither one of us had experienced this wine with a meal before, just at a tasting.  This is a great food wine.  Reminiscent of a Sangiovese, but lighter overall.  The wine handled the richness of the beef and polenta well, cleaning but not shocking the pallet.  It also didn’t clash with the green beans.  The predominate taste was tart cherry, with a spicy finish at times.  Also, once in a while, I picked up that leathery, tobacco flavor of Sangiovese.  The wine was on sale for $15.00 because the current distributor is new, and trying to get rid of the old inventory.  So if you get a chance to pick up a bottle, I’d encourage you to do so.

The stock

dark-vegetable-stock

The beef shank recipe called for beef stock.  I don’t like the stock found on grocery store shelves because it has too much sodium, even the low sodium brand.  I’m trying to learn the basics of cooking so I want to make my own anyway.  Making beef stock from bones takes about 9 hours.  So I call the Hy-Vee closest to us and ask someone at the meat department if they had 8 pounds of beef bones I could pick up.  Without a hesitation he tells me, “Yes.”  I ask if I can pick them up the next day, he tells me, “That won’t be a problem.”  I thanked him and he gave me an enthusiastic, “Thank you!” back.  Friday after work I stop by to pick up the bones and the manager of the meat department gives me a funny look, goes to the cooler, comes back and tells me there are no bones for me to pick up.  He asked me who I talked to, I of course couldn’t remember.  He then proceeds to tell me that none of the meat that arrives at there store has any bones they need to cut out.  The only way to get bones to the store is to special order them, which it sounds like they rarely if ever do.  Great, now what do I do.  So I reluctantly grab a couple boxes of beef stock off the shelf.  On the way home I start thinking about all these vegetables I’ve already purchased to make stock, and what I’m going to do with them.  Vegetable stock pops into my head.  I decide to make a dark vegetable stock and then add beef stock I bought, until the sodium content is about right.  Here’s how I made the dark vegetable stock.

Ingredients:

  • 3 onions, sliced
  • carrots, 1/4 the amount of onions, sliced
  • celery, 1/4 the amount of onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 turnip, sliced
  • Bouquet garni, consisting of parsley stems, 2 bay leaves, sprigs of fresh thyme.
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1-1/2 onion, sliced
  • carrots, 1/4 the amount of onions, sliced
  • celery, 1/4 the amount of onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Directions:

Start by caramelizing the miropoix of 3 onions, carrots and celery in the oil.  Add garlic and turnip.  After garlic has released it’s flavor, about one minute, add the rests of the ingredients: miropoix of 1-1/2 onion, carrots, celery; bouquet garni and peppercorns.  Add water until the ingredients are just covered.  Quickly bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.  Strain through a colander, pressing liquid out of the vegetables with a spoon.  Then strain liquid a second time, through a fine screen.

Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic and Herbs

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter , softened
  • 3 medium garlic cloves , minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound green beans , stem ends snapped off
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, about 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

In a large nonstick saute pan bring oil to the point of just smoking, over medium heat.  Add beans, salt and pepper.  Cook beans, stirring, until they begin to get brown spots.  Add water and cover, cook until water is gone.  Check beans for tenderness.  If you like them more tender add more water.  Once the beans are as just about as tender as you like, add the butter, garlic and thyme.  Cook beans until they are as tender as you like.  Make sure you don’t burn the garlic.  Move beans to a serving bowl and toss with lemon juice and parsley.

By Kenton