A Hearty Stew To Welcome The Arrival Of Fall
Fall is finally here! I am welcoming its arrival with something delicious simmering atop the stove all day long, enticing me with its developing aromas wafting throughout the house.
As the hours pass, the alluring scent hints at the intricate flavors building, beckoning dinnertime to hasten its arrival.
Indeed, one of the great components of fall is a hearty stew simmering away and composing its intricate flavors as the hours pass.
Grass Fed Beef On A Budget
In case you missed it, yesterday I did a post on grass-fed beef and How We Eat Grass-Fed Beef On A Budget. One of the most economical cuts when buying grass-fed beef is the shank.
What exactly is a beef shank? It is wonderful, that’s what it is! The shank is found on the leg of a cow, just above the knee.
Although beef shanks are one the most overlooked and unsung cuts of a cow, when they come from a 100% grass-fed cow they are one of the most inexpensive, and nutrient-dense cuts of meat you can buy!
This makes them a great and delicious option for those trying to eat a wholesome diet on a tighter budget.
Why Beef Shanks Are So Nutritious!
The nutrition in beef shanks comes from their composition of bone, connective tissues, and of course actual meat. Bone and cartilage (connective tissues) are rich sources of a great array of minerals.
As beef shanks cook slowly at a low temperature, all of those minerals are extracted and made available to us.
The idea of bones and cartilage may not sound all that appetizing, but they lend to this stew a deep richness; a composition of complex yet harmonious flavors singing from all of those nutrients!
Slow And Steady Does the Trick
There is one important thing you need to know when cooking this inexpensive yet rich cut of meat: it requires time.
Cooking it any less than 6 hours will do it no justice. It must cook all day long in order to transform it from tough and chewy to buttery, luscious, falling-apart goodness!
Time is the necessary ingredient in this dish to unlock all of the flavor and nutrients it has to offer.
Time: Unlocking Both Flavor and Nutrition
Catherine Shanahan of Deep Nutrition explains,
“It is a little-known fact that when a chef talks about flavor, he’s also talking about nutrients. When he says some flavors take time to develop, he’s saying sometimes you have to wait for certain nutrients to be released. Cooking meat slow is the best way to turn an ordinary meal into something extraordinary–in terms of taste and nutrition.”
Catherine Shanahan ~ Deep Nutrition
In other words, as the hours pass, they lend not only better flavor to meat, but more nutrients and minerals are drawn out of the bones and made available to our bodies.
So sit yourself down with a nice glass of wine, and enjoy the process. It makes a difference…it really does!
- 1lb grass-fed beef shanks (3 small or 2 medium shanks)
- 2 Tbs coconut oil
- salt and pepper
- 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 2 cups dry red wine (cheap is fine! I use $3 Cabernet form Trader Joes)
- 3½ cups organic or homemade beef broth
- 2Tbs balsamic vinaigrette
- 10oz white or Baby Bella mushrooms, quartered
- Heat coconut oil in iron skillet over medium-high heat
- Generously rub beef shanks in sea salt and black pepper
- Sear shanks in skillet, 7 minutes each side
- Remove shanks, set aside, and lower heat to medium
- Add garlic and onions, season with salt and pepper, cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown
- Add 1½ cups red wine, and 1½ cups beef broth, season with salt and pepper
- Bring to a boil, lower heat to low simmer, stir in 1Tbs balsamic vinaigrette
- Return shanks to pan, simmer low, uncovered, for 3 hours (until most of the liquid is reduced)
- After 3 hours, add remaining red wine, beef broth, and balsamic vinaigrette; season with salt and pepper
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer, partly covered, for 4 hours
- After 4 hours, gently push on the meat to remove it from the bones
- With the back of your wooden spoon, poke the buttery marrow out of the bones into the stew, stir to incorporate
- Stir in the mushrooms, cover and simmer for 1 more hour
- Serve over creamy polenta, brown rice, or couscous