Even though our favorite groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring, we know better. We’re still in for weeks of old man winter. So chase away the chill and get head-to-toe warm inside. Cook up a big pot of luxurious, rich Spiced Braised Beef Shanks.
One of the secrets to this stellar recipe is the aromatic spice rub. It’s a fragrant mélange of pan-toasted coriander, cumin, caraway and mustard seeds. Heating the seeds changes their character and deepens their flavor. Then, they’re ground and mixed with the earthy heat of ancho or chipotle chili powder. Now doesn’t that sound like it will thaw things out a bit?
Stew it up low and slow in our colorful Le Creuset Signature Braiser. This enameled cast iron pot distributes heat evenly to break down tough cuts of meat and cook vegetables to perfection. And oversized handles make carrying it to the serving table a beautiful thing. In the end, the beef shanks are fall-off-the-bone tender, and the gravy is silky with back notes of garlic, caramelized onion and red wine. We guarantee, even the heartiest of appetites will melt away.
Spiced Braised Beef Shanks
Courtesy of Le Creuset
Makes 4–6 servings
For the spice blend
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 ½ teaspoons ancho or chipotle chili powder
For the braised beef
6 beef shanks
Salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups dry red Zinfandel or syrah wine
2 bay leaves
Chicken or beef stock as needed
18–24 small carrots, with tops, scrubbed and trimmed
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup chopped parsley
Zest of one orange
Preheat oven to 300°F. Prepare the spice rub by toasting whole seeds in a pan until fragrant. Using a spice grinder, coffee grinder or mortar and pestle, grind the toasted seeds with the chili powder.
Season beef shanks liberally with salt and pepper, then dust with the spice rub on both sides. Heat a 3 ½ quart braiser over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil once hot. Brown the meat until dark brown on both sides, about 4–6 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.
Lower the heat to medium. Sweat the onion, celery and garlic in the pan until the onion is translucent. Add tomato paste and cook until slightly darkened. Pour in the wine and scrape all browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer until reduced by ¼, about 10 minutes.
Return the beef shanks to the pan, along with the bay leaves. Pour in enough stock to come about ⅔ of the way up the meat; the meat should not be covered by the liquid. Cover with the lid and place in the oven. Let cook for 2 ½ hours until very tender.
Add the carrots and replace the lid. Return to the oven and let cook an additional 20–30 minutes. Remove the beef and the carrots to a warm plate and cover loosely with foil. Remove the bay leaves and any other solids with a slotted spoon, and discard. Skim the fat from the surface. At this point, the sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If it doesn’t, reduce it a bit more.
Turn off the heat and swirl in the butter. Combine the parsley and orange zest. Serve the shanks with carrots and sauce, and garnish with the zest mixture.
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