A winter stew

February 21, 2011

I went out on Saturday thinking it was time to do an oxtail stew. But as my friendly neighbourhood butcher pointed out, cows tend only to have one tail and thus he’d run out.  He suggested shin instead. I must admit I’d always thought  shin was just another variety of cheap braising steak, but I think I’m now a convert to this humble cut.

Looking at the meat pictured  right you can see some of the connective tissue and it’s this that breaks down during long slow cooking to help create  an  extraordinary rich, thick sauce. It’s got to be long and slow but you are rewarded with ultra-tender, ultra-tasty meat.

I’ve no pictures of the fabulous stew I’m afraid but it was simplicity itself. For a generous meal for two people,  toss one pound of  meat in seasoned flour (try adding a little mustard powder too), fry an onion and some garlic, brown the meat, toss in some carrots, a few sprigs of thyme, a bayleaf.  Let it all stick a bit to the bottom of the pan and then add half a bottle of red plonk, making sure to stir up all those wonderful sticky bits from the bottom of the pan all up to mix.   Put it in a casserole, cover tightly, cook for as long as you’ve got as low as you can – at least two hours – and just let the magic happen.  It’s worth checking every hour or so because this will be a fairly dry stew and you don’t want to over do it.  

I’ll definitely be looking to use this specific cut for a range of other slow cooked recipes now.

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4 Responses to “A winter stew”

  1. alex said

    like the post – a couple of questions

    -don’t mention stock – did you really just cook it in wine??
    – and where did you get the beef?

    Like

  2. riponia said

    Didn’t use any any stock – obviously you could replace some of the wine with stock if you prefer. The meat came from Archer’s in Clarendon Park, who mainly use locally-reared South Devon beef. I also got a free range pork chop from them which was revelatory – very porky indeed.

    Like

  3. Ross said

    Cheers Tim. Will try this in the next day or two. Looking forward to it already

    Like

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