How do I choose good beef shanks and how do I cook them?
Beef shank cross cuts should have good red color with marbling. They need long, moist heat for cooking. Here is a recipe from a recent issue of Better Homes and Gardens.
Braised Beef Shanks with Mushrooms and Olives
Prep: 20 minutes Bake: 2 to 3 hours Cook: 15 minutes Oven: 325°F
Makes: 8 servings
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 bone-in beef shanks, about 1-1/4-inches thick (about 4 lb.)
Ground black pepper
2 large onions, chopped (2 cups)
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup dry red wine or beef broth
1 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomato with basil, garlic, and oregano
1 cup beef broth
12 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered (or halved if small)
3/4 cup pitted assorted olives
Hot cooked gnocchi
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. In a Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add beef shanks to Dutch oven and brown on both sides. Remove beef shanks from Dutch oven. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Add onion, carrot, and garlic to Dutch oven. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until softened. Add wine and deglaze pan by scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Add undrained tomatoes, beef broth and beef shanks to pan. Bring to boiling.
3. Cover and bake 2 to 3 hours, or until beef is tender, adding mushrooms the last 20 minutes of cooking time.
4. Remove beef shanks to a serving platter. Strain vegetables from sauce, stir in olives, and spoon over beef shanks. Skim fat from cooking liquid and serve cooking liquid with beef shanks and gnocchi. Sprinkle with gremolata to serve.