Peppered Shin Beef in Red Wine

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Peppered Shin Beef in Red Wine

This was last night’s supper. The shin beef was from those marvellous people at Parsonage Farm in Upton – please visit their website – Sarah and John Mills are two of the nicest farmers you could meet – they also butcher their own meat and have also moved into making their own salamis! They know their stuff. This dish shows shin beef at its very best – it is such a marvellous cut and highly underrated. Yes, it takes time to cook, but time well spent. I put this together in about 20 minutes and then popped it in the oven and went out for the day. I came home to the most marvellous aromas – what a welcome!

Preheat the oven to 150c. For 6 folk I used a kilo of shin, cut into large chunks. I used a heavy round casserole dish with a lid. I arranged half the beef on the bottom – added 5 whole peeled cloves of garlic, two sprigs of rosemary and 3 or 4 good grinds of black pepper. Then I popped the rest of the beef on top, plus 5 more cloves and more rosemary and more black pepper.

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Then add a whole bottle of a good red, preferably Italian. Add 2 bay leaves.

Pop the lid on and bring to a gentle boil on the hob. Then place in the centre of the oven for at least 6 hours. When it is ready check the seasoning – I added just a whisper of sea salt and a light drizzle of love oil. Then I removed the beef with a slotted spoon and broke it up gently with 2 forks – it drifts part in the most dreamy fashion. I served it with steamed cauliflower and baby new pots with a taleggio and cream sauce.

This is beef at its best. Full of rich dark flavours that haunt the tastebuds and make them crave more!

A little Moroccan Magic makes Sunday sublime….

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A little Moroccan Magic makes Sunday sublime....

I saw this idea on a Jamie Oliver programme a while ago now – but I cannot remember which one! Anyway, this is my version using fabulously underrated shin beef – mine was from those lovely people at Parsonage Farm. I love the tactile nature of rubbing the beef in the early stages and the way this cut just melts in the mouth after serious slow cooking. We went to the pub whilst it was simmering! It suited our Sunday and slipped down a treat – highly recommended and great social food. I cooked it in a Dutch oven casserole pan – I know some folk cook it in a tagine – but I have never dabbled in those – yet. Anyway – this works and I have just finished the leftover warmed up inside a pitta for lunch today!

Ingredients for 4/5

750 gm shin beef, fat trimmed off and cut into serious cubes
2 small onions chopped
Bunch of fresh coriander
Half a butternut squash peeled and cubed
400 gm tin chickpeas
400 gm tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp of tomato sauce
600 ml of chicken or vegetable stock
Olive oil

Spice mix
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground cumin – I crushed cumin seeds in a mortar
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp paprika
Salt and black pepper

Mix all spice ingredients together and add to cubed beef in a bowl – with your hands run in to the beef until all the mix has been taken in. You can do this in advance if you wish.

Add a glug of olive oil to the pan – deep sided preferably – and gently pan fry the beef for about 5 minutes. Add the onion and half the coriander chopped. Fry for a further 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and the tomatoes and then all apart form 100 gm of the stock – you are just keeping some back for later in case it starts to dry out a tad – but it shouldn’t.

Bring to the boil – stir well – reduce heat – pop some foil over then the lid and simmer for 2 hours on a low heat.

Then add the butternut squash cubes – a little more stock if needed. Put foil and lid back on.

Cook for another 1 and a half hours. Consistency should now be quite thick and the meat should be falling apart to the touch. Serve with cous cous and scatter on the remainder of the coriander.

This is a very satisfying autumnal dish – cheap too – and a great alternative to Sunday roasts!