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.
Upon arrival my eyes immediately went to beef shanks. The shank of an animal is the area just below the thigh.
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.
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.
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.
3 beef shanks
2 celery stalks
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)
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.
Add wine to deglaze pan and reduce by ½. Add rosemary, thyme and, stock. When liquid comes to boil add shanks back to pot.
Cover and transfer to oven for 2.5 hours.
When meat is tender remove from oven and strain braising liquid.
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.
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 $
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.