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Beef Shank Stew

My memories of homemade beef stew are kind of fuzzy. I remember my paternal grandmother making it, but I think I was too young to really pay much attention to how she did it. I remember my mother making it in a cast iron skillet, but it was not something she made very often. She would usually made vegetable beef soup instead. I do remember that my grandmother’s and my mom’s stews were not the same. My mom often included tomatoes in her stew broth, while my grandmother did not.

beef shank stew

I also do know that it is highly unlikely that either my grandmother or my mom used bone-in beef shank to make stew. It was not a cut of meat that either would buy in the store and it was not a cut that we received when we purchased a side of beef. Therefore, I know my beef stew is not my momma’s beef stew (or my grandmother’s either for that matter). It does reflect my rather recent obsession with the shank cuts of meat.

It also reflects my heritage and pays homage to my mom and grandmother by sometimes using canned tomatoes and sometimes not.

I used the oven to cook my stew, but it can be done in a slow cooker after searing the meat. You could even cook the meat the day before making the stew. Another method that would speed up the process would be to cook the meat in a pressure cooker before transferring it to the oven or slow cooker. You could even make the entire stew in the pressure cooker by cooking the meat under pressure then adding the vegetables and cooking either without pressure or possibly even placing it back under pressure.

Although there are lots of steps in the following recipe, it really is not difficult. I have just broke it down to try include everything I do.

Recipe: Beef Shank Stew

Ingredients:

  • 2 beef shank portions
  • salt
  • flour
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4
  • tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. Herbs de Provence or mix of rosemary and thyme
  • 1 1/2 c. Marsala or Madeira (may use 1/4 +/- c. red wine or balsamic vinegar instead)
  • water
  • 2 small onions, quartered
  • 4 carrots, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. small to med. red potatoes, cut into wedges if not too small
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 28 oz. crushed or diced fire-roasted tomatoes with 2 Tbsp. sugar or about 16 oz. beef stock (depending on your stew taste preference)
  • Parsley, chopped (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Place a Dutch Oven or other oven-proof heavy bottomed pot that has a tight fitting lid on medium heat.
  2. Add oil and butter to heat.
  3. Place about 1/4 c. flour in a dish or zipper plastic bag.
  4. Dry shank portions and salt both sides of shank.
  5. Place shank in flour and coat all sides.
  6. Add shank portions to hot oil and butter and brown on all sides.
  7. While browning meat, preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  8. Once browned, remove shanks from pot and set aside.
  9. Wipe remaining oil mixture from pot and return shank portions to pot.
  10. Sprinkle paprika, garlic powder, and 1 tsp. herbs on meat.
  11. Add enough water that the liquid is at least three-quarters of the way up the side of the meat, but not covering it entirely.
  12. Add bay leaf.
  13. Place lid on pot or oven and cook in oven until meat is fairly tender (about 2 hours).
  14. Remove from oven and remove bay leaf.
  15. Skim off as much fat from surface as possible.
  16. Add carrots, potatoes, and onions.
  17. Add 4 Tbsp. flour with an equal amount of water and stir slurry into the Dutch oven/pot or stir Wondra flour directly into pot.
  18. Add tomatoes, if using. Or, add beef broth if needed to cover most of the vegetables with liquid.
  19. Cook until all vegetables are tender and broth has thickened, 1 to 2 more hours.
  20. After removing from oven, take out both cooked shanks and their bones.
  21. Cut up the meat into bite size pieces and return to Dutch oven/pot.
  22. Sprinkle with parsley before or when serving, if desired.

Copyright © 2014.
Recipe by Paula, A Simple Home Cook.

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