Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Braised Beef Shanks topped with Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Chorizo, Caramelized Fennel and Onion Confit

....Because it's snowing outside and you need something hot.

Photo by Kevin Fry

Braised Beef Shanks topped with Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Chorizo, Caramelized Fennel and Onion Confit
Serves 4
Pair with Elsom Cellars2007 Cabernet

5 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
4 cups cherry tomatoes
6-8 beef shanks, depending on size
kitchen string for tying shanks
¼ cup flour, seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup red wine
5 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
½ fennel bulb
1 large sweet onion, sliced
1 cup  ground pork chorizo

Preheat oven to 300®F. Toss cherry tomatoes with two tablespoons olive oil, three sprigs of picked fresh thyme and salt and pepper in a bowl.  Transfer tomatoes to a baking sheet and place in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
Meanwhile, tie each beef shank meat to the bone, like wrapping a package. Lightly coat beef shanks in seasoned flour, shake off any excess and set aside on a plate. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large sauté pan with high sides over high heat. Sear beef shanks until browned on both sides. Remove shanks from pan and set on a plate, leaving juices in the pan. Add chopped onions,  carrot and celery to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add garlic and tomato paste and stir to coat. Cook an additional 2 minutes, add a splash of olive oil if necessary for stirring.  

Add wine and stir, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir. After another 2 minutes, add stock and stir until it simmers. Add bay leaves and two sprigs of fresh thyme. Add shanks to the pan and cover with a lid or foil and place into the preheated oven. Cook for 5 hours minimum, turning shanks half way through cooking.  The meat should be falling off the bone.

While the shanks are cooking, add two tablespoons of olive oil to a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add sliced fennel and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and cook an additional 10 minutes until fennel is caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside. Repeat this caramelizing process using the same pan with the chopped sweet onions and set aside.  Use this same pan again and cook the ground pork chorizo over medium-high heat until fully cooked. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate.

Once the beef shanks are done, carefully remove the kitchen string from each one and discard. Serve beef shanks with the bone-in or use two forks to remove meat from the bone. Set a beef shank on a plate and top with warmed caramelized fennel, caramelized onions, slow cooked cherry tomates and a spooful of cooked chorizo. Drizzel a spoonful of the cooking sauce over all. Serve with mash potatoes, creamy polenta or seasoned white beans. 

Photo by Kevin Fry

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