An old aunt, who was married into an Italian family, told me to always cook meat in wine or beer, stock was allowed but always with alcohol. Since then that’s how I’ve always made meat sauces and casseroles. Red wine in bolognese sauce and other red meat dishes, beer in beef casseroles, cider with pork and white wine with chicken, to name but a few.
A favourite dish in our house has always been beef in beer, and since my boys started drinking beer, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with the many craft beers they’ve brought home to drink. It’s a dish that needs a beer with real depth of flavour, something that produces a deep unctuous casserole, warming and bringing out the full deep flavour of the beef.
That was my choice when we had dinner at Red Onion in Glasgow, recently. Owned by Chef John Quigley, Red Onion offers, unfussy dishes that people know and love, probably one of the reasons I like it so much.
The Innis & Gunn Original Braised Shin of Beef was everything you would expect from a wonderfully slow cooked beef dish, a deep rich flavour and just so meltingly tender.
On paying the bill we were given a card with the recipe and rather than cook it myself, Chef Quigley is happy for me to share his recipe. After all, for me that’s what food is all about, sharing and bringing folk together around the dinner table.
INNIS & GUNN BRAISED SHIN OF BEEF
You will need a large shallow, flameproof casserole, of 6 pint (3.5 litre) with a tight fitting lid. Serves 4. Preheat the oven to gas Mark 1, 250F, 130C.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1kg Shin/ankle of beef – cut into 4 steaks
500ml Innis & Gunn Original
100ml beef stock
40g plain flour, seasoned with 1 level tsp salt and some freshly milled black pepper
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp treacle
400g carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks
1 large white onion – diced
3 good sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 star anise
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
1. Place seasoned flour in a large bowl or plastic beg, add beef, coat with flour and shake off excess.
2. Heat oil in casserole dish over a medium heat, add browned beef and brown on both sides for 2min, removed, add carrots and onions to casserole and fry over a medium heat for 2/3 min until nicely browned.
3. Add ale, stock, thyme, purée, treacle, bay leaf, star anise,salt & pepper, bring to boil, add beef, cover and cook in oven for 4.5 hours approx.
4. When beef is cooked it can be removed from the sauce and cooled. Skim the sauce and strain through a fine sieve and cool. To reheat add portion of sauce to beef and warm through. Place beef on centre of plate, pour over sauce and serve with Yorkshire puddings and mash
Red Onion is situated at 257 West Campbell Street, Glasgow. 0141 221 6000
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