Tonight I was at a total loss as what to cook for dinner. I looked in the fridge and saw about 3 lbs of Shin Beef looking back at me. Personally I was not remotely in the mood for beef but knew that is what it must be, since it was there and I wasn’t about to thaw something else. OK, so shin beef??? Why did I buy it??
It looked meaty and I was attracted to the big shin marrow bone in every slice? So I was going to have to evoke the emotion I felt when buying it and get stuck in! I opened the cupboard that held all my spices and honed in on the smoked paprika and, in that moment I knew that this dinner would be…..shin beef, smoked paprika and onions! Simple. I was also still thinking that I did not want beef, so I decided to take a bag of baby french lentil beans that I have had for a while and make a kind of stew….Sometimes when I truly don’t what to eat what everyone else is eating I admit it, I make another dish! This is not a problem for me since hanging out in the kitchen is where I want to be and while the shin beef was cooking why not try to invent another dish for the annals!
Preheat oven to 400*
You will need: 3 lbs of sliced shin beef, 4 small onions, 1 red pepper, 1 cup white wine, 3 cup vegetable or chicken broth, 1 cup water (more if needed), 1 1/2 tbs smoked paprika, 2 bay leaves or 1 sachet of bouquet garni, 2 tbs unbleached white flour, salt and black pepper, olive oil for frying.
Dice onions and chop pepper into big pieces and set aside. Put big saute pan (12″) on stove top on high heat.
Let it get hot and add olive oil and wait for 1 minute before adding 1 layer of seasoned (salt & pepper sprinkled onto raw meat) shin beef to pan. Sear on one side and then on the other. This will take about 2 minutes per side. Remove to plate as it cooks and set aside. When all the meat has been seared turn heat down to medium and add onions. Let them cook for about 3 minutes before adding the red pepper. Give it a stir and let cook for about 2 minutes more. Add paprika and stir in and let it cook for about 1 minute. Add flour and bay leaves and let it cook for another minute before adding the cup of white wine. Stir and let cook for about 2 minutes before adding the rest of the broth and the water. Turn up heat and let it come to a boil. Taste broth and season with salt and pepper. Put shin beef back into the pan, cover and place in oven for 1 1/2 hour (during that hour is when I made the lentil dish). Take it out after the alotted time and test the meat. It should be really tender. If not, put back in oven for another 10 minutes or so until you are satisfied. Let it rest out of oven for about 10 or 15 minutes. I served it with leftover rice and threw some spinach in the bowls of the vegetable lovers. To reheat leftover rice I put it in a pot, cover with lid and heat on the lowest setting on your stove for about 20 minutes (I suppose you could try the microwave but I don’t have one so have no advice to give on that count – sorry).
Big thing to note about this dish: The bones in the shin are full of bone marrow. This is the gelatinous unctuous morsel found in the center of the bone and is the highlight of the dish for me. Pop it out with a fork and spread it on a tiny piece of toasted bread and you have yourself a gastronomic moment. It sounds awful (made up of blood cells and connective tissue) and in a way I think that is because it connects you to the animal it came from in a more realistic way, but if you can accept that, you can begin to appreciate the subtle wonderful taste it has to offer.
You could center a whole meal around this (I know they do in some french restaurants) and open up a new world to your palate. Next thing you know you’ll be trying gooey duck!