Cooking On A Budget: Braised Beef Shanks

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Braised Beef Shanks


Braised beef shanks are simmering in the Dutch oven and it smells heavenly in here. Beef shank used to be the least expensive of all cuts of beef, however inflation has changed that. Of course inflation has changed the price of proteins across the board - some at an astronomical price per pound.

So when you look at the shanks in the store consider cooking them like a pot roast. This is an ideal use of the beef shank when cooking for one or two people. 

That being said I look at what is in the $3.99 range and under to try and figure out what can I possibly create on my budget. My first thought was beef barley soup. However my husband is not a barley fan and he needs to eat also - doesn't he? This recipe feeds four people for $3.43 each.

Many people like to braise beef with all wine (red) or a combination of beef stock/broth and wine. Hate to say this but neither my husband or I really like red wine in cooking - white wine yes, but not red. That's just us and our taste. I de-glazed the pan with some balsamic vinegar instead of the wine.

So when you make this and you have some good red wine for cooking knock yourself out and de-glaze the pan with some wine. Actually that is what cooking is all about - making recipes your own.

Please note that when I give the cups for the celery and onion I measured by using a liquid measuring cup, not dry measure for this recipe. My go to spices for beef are salt, pepper, granulated garlic and onion powder. I use that combination for beef shanks, pot roast, roast beef, beef cubes for stew and cube steaks to name a few.
  • 2 3/4 lbs. beef shanks
  • 2 cans beef broth (I prefer Campbell's)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/3 cups onion - medium dice
  • 1 cup celery - medium dice
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. gravy master
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil (for searing the meat)
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • granulated garlic to taste
  • onion powder to taste
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch and 2 tbsp. water (for a slurry)
  1. In a dutch oven over medium heat add the olive oil.
  2. Season both sides of the shanks with the salt, pepper, granulated garlic and onion powder.
  3. Sear them on both sides for 3 minutes and remove to a waiting plate.
  4. Add the onion to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes until the onions begin to release some liquid and stir to get up all the good bits. Next add in the garlic and saute for about a minute and add in the celery. Cook all of this for a few minutes.
  5. De-glaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, stirring with a plastic or wooden spoon.
  6. Add in the bay leaves, the beef broth, water and the thyme. Stir. Add the shanks back to the pan.
  7. Cover and simmer for about 3 hours. Remove the meat to a waiting plate. by this time it is probably falling off of the bones. Remove any large fat and toss the fat and the bones.
  8. Strain the liquid into a fat separator if you have one or skim the fat off the top with a large spoon or ladle. Add the strained onion, celery and garlic back to the pan - MINUS the bay leaves.
  9. I used my hand held blender and pureed the whole shootin' match. Use a blender if you do not own a hand held blender. Add the gravy master and stir well. Taste for any additional seasoning.
  10. Bring the mixture up to a boil and add the slurry slowly into the pan and keep whisking until thickened.
  11. Add the meat back to the pan, cook longer on low heat if necessary or serve it up as is.

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