Monday, April 22, 2013

Zinfandel Shank Stew


3 or 4 cross cut beef shank slices, pasture raised if you can get it
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
4 or 5 small thin carrots
1/2 celery root, peeled and cubed
a few baby turnips, halved, or a regular sized turnip, cubed up
2 or 3 golden potatoes (or sweet potatoes if you prefer)
1 cup red Zinfandel wine
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
several dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon savory
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1 cup shitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon Irish butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
several pats of extra butter

That's right. No onions.

Heat the olive oil in a pot that's big enough to fit your beef shank slices along the bottom. When the oil is very hot, brown the shanks on both sides. Lower the heat to low, and add a cup of your favorite red Zinfandel wine, the Worcestershire and enough warm water to cover the meat by several inches. Add the salt and all of the spices, as well as the garlic cloves, and simmer covered for a half hour.

Prepare the rest of the vegetables, and when the half hour is up, chuck them in the pot too. Cover again and let it simmer for another half hour.

While that is happening, slice your shitake mushrooms and cook them in the butter on very high heat for five minutes, without turning or stirring them, then you can stir them up a bit and cook them to your taste. The reason you don't mess with them at first is because you want them to get roasty-toasty brown on at least one side. If your butter is unsalted, add a pinch of salt at the end.

When the stewed beef and vegetables are done, serve them up  in big bowls with a pat of butter  in each, making sure you have a little bit of everything in there, and lots of juice for you to soak up with your bread. What I do is pull the little round bones out before serving, but I take the marrow out of each one with a small knife or spoon and mix it in with the stew.

Top each bowl with fresh parsley and a sprinkling of pan fried mushrooms.