Beef Shank Stew

Someone said oxtail to me randomly in a conversation (or maybe not so randomly), and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. I was determined to have oxtail stew.

Whole Foods only has frozen oxtail and a much more expensive veal equivalent, so I decided to go with beef shank instead, which is basically the same thing, but the meat’s a little tougher and there’s more bone marrow.

Look at all that delicious bone marrow! I have no idea who poked this one though. I prefer it without holes.

The shanks were seasoned and seared in really hot olive oil to brown both sides, dusted with flour, and then lowered into a boiling mixture of stock, red wine, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, worchester sauce, chili flakes, bay leaves, and oregano.

Turns out that other pot wasn’t big enough, so I had to switch. This whole thing was left in the oven at 300 degrees for 2.5 hours while we watched old episodes of Homeland.

If you really like bone marrow, make sure to either turn the shanks very carefully so that it doesn’t fall out, or if you have enough stew to submerge the meat for most of the cooking, then just leave it such that the smaller bone marrow opening is on the bottom.

30 minutes before it was done, I dumped in chopped onions, carrots, and lotus root. I then removed the shanks for a while as they’re already quite tender.

This is the one with the hole, which has unfortunately enlarged. It sat and waited to be re-assimilated.

I added some parsley to the stock, and boiled it down to about 1/3 the volume. This is the best time to season everything because it’s now on the stove top and not in the oven… and the soup/stew is getting to the consistency at which it will be served.

I also did a little bonus and scooped some of the top layer of fat and olive oil out, and boiled it with some flour, making a roux. The roux is then added back into the stock to help thicken it into something closer to a gravy. All the while, all the flavors from the stock, wine, herbs, and veggies combined into a cloud of flavor.

Once the stew got to the consistency I wanted, I cut the meat up and rolled it around inside, warming the shank and covering it in the thick wine and stock sauce. These were the leftover pieces.

Dinner was served. There’s enough nutrition and warmth to last another couple of episodes. I hid a bone with the bone marrow intact at the bottom of each bowl so we can scoop it out with a spoon.

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