Beef Shin Ragu
- 1.5 kg (3lb 5 oz) beef shin, thickly sliced into steaks (bone-in, if possible)
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 5 black peppercorns
- Bouquet garni (sprig of thyme, sprig of rosemary, 2 bay leaves, 2 sage leaves)
- 2 large glasses of medium-bodied French or Italian red wine
- 500ml good quality beef or chicken stock
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg, and a generous handful of grated Parmesan, to serve
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
For the Gremolate
- 1 handful of flatleaf parsley
- grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, finely chopped
- garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
Mix together all the gremolate ingredients.
Pre-heat your oven to 130°C / Gas ½. Add the olive oil to a large heavy casserole dish and warm over a medium heat. Season the meat and fry it in batches (you want it to brown and caramelise, not steam). Remove the meat to a plate, and set aside. Add the vegetables, peppercorns, and herbs to the casserole dish.
Turn down the heat, and sweat them gently for 10-15 minutes until soft but not coloured. Return the meat to the pan and add the wine, stock and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer then cover and cook in the oven for 4-5 hours (the longer the better). Check it every hour or so, to make sure it’s not drying out. If it is, add a little water.
Remove the meat from the sauce and tear it apart with a fork and spoon (it should yield wilfully). If you’d like a gooier sauce, reduce it on the hob before returning the shredded meat to the dish.
Remove the bouquet garni and season to taste. Serve with a robust pasta, such as rigatoni or pappardelle, or gnocchi, and sprinkle with the gremolata, some Parmesan, and a touch of grated nutmeg.
[box type="info"] Shove any leftover meat into a salad wrap with avocado, cucumber and sour cream (for the hot heads, add a dollop of jamaican hot sauce); mix it with mashed potato and fry (for the gluttons, put a fried egg on top); turn it into a quesadilla filling with melted cheese and pickles. Or, simply spoon it on top of a steaming baked potato.[/box]