Beef Shin & Red Wine Stew
Gill Meller's satisfying beef and red wine stew with carrots and onions is an exercise in living slowly.
Gentle and warming, it's perfect for those slower, darker nights at home. Gill recommends using whole shin of beer on the bone, as it's the best cut for cooking slowly in this way.
Photo credit: Andrew Montgomery
- Dash of oil or beef dripping, for frying
- 150g (51/2oz) chunky bacon lardons
- 2 thick slices of shin beef, on the bone (about 800g/1lb 12oz)
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 large knob of butter
- 8 small carrots, peeled but left whole
- 12 little onions or small shallots, peeled but left whole
- 200g (7oz) small chestnut mushrooms, halved
- 1 onion, halved and finely sliced
- 2 small celery sticks, finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 or 4 thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 400ml (14fl oz) red wine
- 400ml (14fl oz) beef, chicken or vegetable stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 3. Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium–high heat and add the oil or dripping. Scatter in the bacon lardons and fry them for 3–5 minutes on all sides, until they are beginning to crisp a little around the edges.
Remove to a plate while you turn your attention to the beef. Dust the pieces of shin in the flour, and then place them in the same hot pan. Season the beef all over with salt and pepper and fry for 3–4 minutes on each side, and for a few minutes on the thick edges if you can, to brown all over. Remove the beef and set it aside.
Leave the pan on the heat. Add the butter, then the carrots and baby onions, and fry them gently on all sides for about 8–10 minutes, until they have taken on a little colour. Set these aside on a clean plate.
Add the mushrooms to the pan, season them lightly and fry for 6–8 minutes. Set these aside with the carrots and baby onions.
Keep the pan on the heat and add the sliced onion, celery and garlic, and the thyme and bay. Season, then sweat the vegetables gently for about 4–6 minutes, until they begin to soften.
Return the bacon lardons and shin to the pan and turn up the heat. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil. Add the stock (it should just cover the meat) and bring back to a gentle simmer, stirring once or twice. Put a lid on the pan and cook the shin for about 3–4 hours, or until the meat is tender.
Then, add the carrots, mushrooms and onions and stir. Replace the lid and return to the oven for a further 35–40 minutes, until both the carrots and onions are tender.
Remove the stew from the oven, adjust the seasoning, then let stand for 20 minutes before eating. (It will be even better after 24 hours.)