This blog is all about Food. Real Food. Food that Nourishes, Heart and Soul.

Real Ingredients, Organic and Locally sourced whenever and where ever possible, shared with love.

No packages, no ingredients that are impossible to pronounce.

Real, honest food, from my kitchen to yours. Enjoy!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Braised Beef Shanks with Root Veggies, and a Cool Way to Peel Garlic!

When I have a day off, chances are at some point you will find me in my kitchen. Today was no exception. We brought home some beautiful beef shanks from our last trip to Fenwood Farms, and I took them out to thaw yesterday, knowing that today would be a perfect day to put the oven on for a long braise. This cut of meat does beautifully with a long cooking time, along with something slightly acidic added to the cooking liquid. I used some apple cider vinegar, along with a cup of red wine. This helps to break down the tough connective tissues that are typical of this cut of meat.  Beef shanks are generally a cheaper cut, with 3 large shanks providing 6 meals for right around 20$, not including the veggies etc.  Frugal, tasty and nutritious, all in one pot.

Braised Beef Shanks with Root Veggies

3 Beef Shanks (3-4 lbs total weight)
2 tbsp coconut oil, divided
1 lg onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
5 parsnips, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped (I used a handful of small ones)
1 head of garlic, peeled and diced (***see amazing garlic peeling tip below recipe!!)
1 tsp each dried rosemary and thyme (I used fresh rosemary, increased to 2 tsp)
1 cup dry red wine
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 cups bone broth (beef would be best, I used turkey, and it worked fine)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 bay leaves

Preheat oven to 375

Make sure all of your veggies are prepped  before proceeding with the recipe!
In a large oven safe pot with a lid (an enameled cast iron dutch oven is perfect), heat 1 tbsp of the coconut oil and brown the beef shanks over medium high heat, one at a time if necessary (don’t crowd them, you want them to brown not steam) for about 3 minutes on each side. you want to see some nice browning. (turn on the fan in your range hood if you have one, it can get a bit smokey!)
Remove the shanks to a plate and set aside.

With the pot still on the burner, add the second tbsp of coconut oil, and add the chopped onion, carrot and parsnips. Saute for 4 minutes, stirring often.
Add the celery, herbs and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes more.

Add the wine slowly, ¼ cup at a time, to deglaze the pan. Scrape any browned bits from the bottom, adding the rest of the wine, it will reduce slightly as you go.
Add the apple cider vinegar, and the bone broth, and stir to combine. Carefully nestle the beef shanks into the pot, submerging as much as possible. Tuck the bay leaves around the pot, cover, and place in preheated oven.

Bake for 2 ½ hrs. Remove the lid and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven, remove bay leaves  and serve warm!

Amazing Peeled Garlic!

A while back, we saw a certain Ms. Stewart peeling whole heads of garlic using two stainless steel bowls, and just a quick shake. It works like a charm, and although it is slightly noisy, the garlic cloves come out beautifully peeled.  After a random search on Pinterest (I am more than slightly addicted to that site!) and one martini shaker later, beautifully peeled garlic is even easier!!!
Simply break up the head of garlic, put the whole thing in the martini shaker, put the lid on and shake like you would a martini, back and forth maybe 10 times. Voila!!  Your garlic is peeled, and ready to go!