Apple Braised Beef Shanks

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apple braised beef-shanks

Using an apple that holds its shape when cooked, such as Braeburn and adding a side of squash makes this the perfect fall comfort food dish, and adding salty crumbled blue cheese and rich, fork tender beef brings every flavor element to the meal.  Even if you are not a fan of blue cheese, I highly recommend trying this dish, and Goat’s Pride “Blue Capri” or Farmhouse Cheese’s “Castle Blue” are excellent local choices.  

Ingredients

Beef Shanks:

4 large bone-in beef shank steaks, approximately 1.5kg total
Salt & pepper
1 to 2 tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 to 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup red wine
1 cup Lepp’s beef broth
2 stalks fresh rosemary

2 to 3 bay leaves
4 Braeburn apples (or Granny Smith)
3 tbsp & 1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp beef stock paste
50g mild blue cheese – Goat’s Pride “Blue Capri” or Farmhouse “Castle Blue” are excellent local cheeses

Butternut Mash:

1.36kg (3 pounds) butternut squash
1.5 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Method

Beef Shanks:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare apples by peeling and coring them, and then cut them eighths (cut in half, then cut each half in half to make 4 quarters, and then cut each quarter in half to make 8 pieces per apple) and set aside.
  2. Heat a large pan over medium-high to high heat, and have a roasting pan (equipped with a lid) standing by.
  3. Salt and pepper the beef shanks steaks on both sides. Add the oil to the hot pan and sear the steaks on both sides until brown. Do not crowd the pan as this will inhibit the searing process. Set the seared steaks in the roasting pan in a single layer.
  4. Turn the pan heat off and add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and 1/2 cup of the red wine. Stir to coat and cook slightly, approximately 2 minutes. Transfer this mixture to the roasting pan with the steaks, arranging this mixture in-between the steaks (not on top of the steaks). Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of wine and the beef stock over the steaks and nestle the rosemary stalks and the bay leaves in this liquid.
  5. Toss the cut apple pieces with the 3 tbsp brown sugar until coated and arrange them on the steaks (not in the liquid). Cover the roasting pan and cook in the oven until meat is very tender, approximately 2 hours.
  6. Gently remove the cooked apples and set aside. Remove the steaks and plate, arranging the cooked apples on them. Working quickly, strain the sauce through a wire mesh strainer (to remove the cooked vegetables and herbs, and discard them) and then boil this liquid down to half the volume, while stirring in the remaining 1 tsp brown sugar and the 1 tsp beef stock paste. This will be an intensely flavoured sauce.
  7. Pour the reduced sauce over the plated steaks/apples, and top with the crumbled blue cheese. Serve immediately with the Butternut Mash (see recipe below).

Makes 4 large portions

Butternut Mash:

  1. Peel the butter nut squash and cut it into 1/2 inch cubes, discarding the seeds.
  2. Steam for approximately 20 minutes until tender.
  3. Mash with the sugar, salt, & pepper until smooth. Scoop into a wire mesh strainer to let drain for approximately 10 minutes before serving (this will help the mashed squash to have a firmer texture).