Faux-so Buco

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For this blog post I had to visit a butcher shop and find a cut of meat I’m not familiar with. I decided to visit Sanagan’s Meat Locker at 176 Baldwin St. in the Kensington area.

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Upon arrival my eyes immediately went to beef shanks. The shank of an animal is the area just below the thigh.

cuts-of-beef-diagram (http://www.frugalicity.com/cheap-beef-cuts.html)

I explained to the butcher the guidelines for this assignment and he suggested braising as an ideal cooking method since its a tough cut. Throughout the semester I’ve learnt that the more an animal uses a body part the longer it takes to cook. Since cows are on their feet for the vast majority of their life there would also be a lot of connective tissues that needs to be broken down hence the long cooking time.

At $4.49/llb I decided to get a cut, which came up to $4.80. I was going to be home alone for most of the weekend so I decided I might as well cook something for myself.

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My next task was to head to the library at George Brown College to find a recipe. After browsing for what seemed liked ages I stumbled on a book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, The River Cottage Meat. In the book there was a recipe for Provencal Daube, which is a French stew.

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I took a picture of the recipe with the intention of using it as a guideline but last minute I decided to use a blend of recipes and techniques that I’ve learnt the past two weeks in my culinary labs. As a culinary student it’s important for me to practice my skills outside of the my classes in order for me to become a better chef.

My friends dropped by with an impromptu visit and decided they wanted me to cook for them as well so I ended up purchasing two more shanks at my local butcher shop. Compared to the cut I purchased from Sanagan’s I noticed these ones had more connective tissues. The price was also cheaper at $2.09/llb, which came up to $5.45 for the two pieces.

___

Braised Beef Shank (aka *faux-so buco)

*I named it faux because Osso Buco is traditional made with veal shanks.

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Serving: 4

3 beef shanks

2 celery stalks

1 carrot

2 onions (I had small ones)

250 mL red wine

1500 mL beef stock

3 garlic clove, chopped

2 chili pepper (Optional-My friends and I love spicy foods)

1 rosemary sprig

15 mL fig balsamic vinegar

2 thyme sprig

1 tsp. paprika

20 mL vegetable oil

Salt & pepper (TT)

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Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Pat dry and season shanks with salt and paprika. Sear on each side for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Over medium heat add mirepoix in 2 minute interval. Onions-carrot-celery. Add garlic and sauté for additional 3 minutes.

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Add wine to deglaze pan and reduce by ½. Add rosemary, thyme and, stock. When liquid comes to boil add shanks back to pot.

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Cover and transfer to oven for 2.5 hours.

When meat is tender remove from oven and strain braising liquid.

*As you can see in the picture below the meat is falling off the bone.20150131_175452

Cover shanks with plastic wrap and a ladle of braising liquid to avoid dryness. Skim excess fat and strain liquid. Add balsamic vinegar after liquid reduces by 1/2. Continue reducing until liquid becomes jus-like consistency.

*In my lab I had trouble with the correct consistency. The first time was too thick, then too thin. I think 3rd times the charm.                                          20150131_182346

 

 

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I chose to pair the dish with polenta because I wanted a creamy texture to go with the smoothness of the braised beef. The braised liquid added a tangy but spicy kick to blend everything together. My friends enjoyed the meal and gave me a thumbs up.

If I was to make this again I would truss the shanks so they look more elegant when presented.

—-

To gain a profit food cost percentage has to be at least 30%.

Total $ of Ingredients per serving/ Food Cost % = Menu $

$6/0.3= 20

Of course I would want to make a bigger profit so I would charge $23.95.

The recipe would work in a fast-paced restaurant if it was planned in advanced. Since braising takes a lot of time the chef would need to look at ordering trends in order to determine the amount to prepare in advance.

 

 

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3 comments

  1. can i come over for dinner? l would so try this recipe.. did you check it at a certain point to gauge how long it would need to finish?

    Like

    1. Only if you make be shark and bake!

      I first checked it after 1.5 hours, then 30 minutes intervals. Thankfully my friends were over to keep me occupied. I can be a bit impatient with the oven.

      Like

  2. we have a deal lol. just tell me what day.

    Like

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