Doesn’t “Slow cooked beef shanks” sound a lot more complicated and fancy than “beef stew” or “boeuf bourguignon”? Well it does, but it is not! This is a very easy to cook dinner with incredible flavours. The meat is tender and moist and the preparation does not involve the typical Julia Child “turn the house upside down” requirements. I made this last night and it tasted just like the right thing to offset the Arctic air passing through right now.
Buy beef shanks cut in thick slices with the bone attached. Marinate them in two cups of red wine, 1 tsp sugar, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 bay leaf, thyme, for one hour. Pat the meat dry, then brown the meat in a cocotte Le Creuset on high with olive oil. After 3 minutes on each side, add the marinade, 2 sliced carrots, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 sliced onion, 2 pieces of orange peel, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1/2 cup finely chopped sliced leek greens, 1/4 tsp ground anise seeds, 1 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, and the stalks of a fenel , chopped very fine. Add one cup of water, salt and pepper, cover with the lid and cook in the oven for 2 hours at 325.
During the last 15 minutes of cooking add slices of potatoes in the cocotte on top of the meat. Also sauté the sliced fennel bulb and a green bell pepper and serve on the side. The marrow bones can be served on the plate, or you might want to empty them in the gravy. The fennel and spices added a welcome summery taste to this winter dinner.