Saturday, 22 February 2014

Me against the beef shin macaroni...

 All A few years ago the husband and I came across this recipe in the Metro.  We were determined to cook it one day, and this weekend the opportunity arose.  I was in most of the week to plan ahead, our dinner guests were the hungry sort, the weather looked like being cold and wintry - perfect conditions for a beefy, hearty one-pot feast.

First step was to order the beef shin, on the bone, from our favourite local butchers - Ginger Pig in Greensmiths on Lower Marsh.  The recipe called for 1kg meat to feed 4-6. Hmm.  We were going to be 6, with lots of wine to get through.  Let's go for 3kg.

I picked up the beef (heavy!) on the Thursday, ready to get marinating first thing on Friday.  We put it in a large stock pot with the best part of two bottles of red wine (Jamie Oliver stuff on special at Tescos), button mushrooms, small onions, chantenay carrots, rosemary and thyme, peppercorns, 2 star anise and a teaspoon of fennel seeds.  Fairly simple so far, but already it was looking promising:

We left it in our lean-to until Saturday morning, when we cracked on with the cooking.  The meat got a thorough pat dry, then was well browned off in the Le Crueset.  While the meat was browning, we reduced the wine by about a half, and added home-made beef and chicken stock (Gingerr Pig were happy to oblige me with some extra bones to make the beef stock).  The meat then came out of the pot, while we fried off the marinated vegetables and some lardons.  It all got added together to go onto the oven for several hours - enough time for us to drive down to Battersea Park, have lunch, feed the ducks, then browse for sofas.  I think it got perhaps 7 hours at around 125 degrees. 



Later on, we picked the meat from the (huge!) bone, and skimmed off some of the fat and gristle.  The meat was incredibly tender by this point, and our house was filled with a beefy, marrow-y, aroma.  All that was left to do was to cook some good quality pasta, and add this to the pot along with some Parmesan.  It then went into the oven for a final bake:

We served it with just some buttered sprout tops on the side:

All washed down with a generous amount of fine wine (should add that this dinner was one of a regular get-together with our friends who also like to try decent wine, guess each other's wine, and generally chat about all things wine-related):

Yup, really need to get to bed now! 

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