Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rustic Beef Shank Bourguignon

     A Simple Rustic Burgundy Style Beef Shank!
     Sometimes, a great dinner is uncomplicated.  Beef Shanks are not usually found on a fine dining menu, but renewed customer interest in classic offal entrées has opened the door for classic Beef Shank recipes.
     The Burgundy region of France is famous for great wine.  Local Burgundy region recipes have always been designed to pair well with the local Chablis, Chardonnay or Pinot Noir wine.  Many of the old Burgundy region paisan recipes evolved to become famous haute cuisine entrées.  Beef Bourguignon is a prime example.
     The modern Beef Bourguignon recipe originated during the Russian occupation of Northern France after the Napoleonic Wars took a turn for the worse.  Apparently the Russian troops occupied a farm house in the Burgundy region and they demanded some hearty food, so beef was the top choice.  Beef Shanks were available, so they were braised with rustic cut mirepoix vegetables and the local red wine.  Needless to say, the Russians were pleased and the recipe became known as Beef Burgundy.
     Beef Shanks were used to make the original recipe and because the French resented the Russian occupation, minimal effort was applied when cooking the original version of this entrée.  More than likely, the Beef Shank meat was not taken off the bone and cut into bite size pieces and the vegetables were left whole.  This means that the original Beef Burgundy was very rustic looking, but such is the case when cooking for enemy forces.
     The rustic qualities of the original rustic preparation of Beef Burgundy actually are quite appealing in this modern age of complicated fine dining cuisine.  A large beef shank that is braised in a red wine sauce till it is tender certainly will catch the eye of hungry guests!      
     As time moved on and Beef Burgundy became a refined haute cuisine item, Beef Tenderloin Tips replaced the Beef Shank meat.  A petite mirepoix and pearl onions flavored the rich red wine braising sauce.  Shaved Black Truffle is also in the classic haute cuisine version of Beef Burgundy.  As one can see, the rustic paisan qualities of the original Beef Burgundy were cast aside.  
     Today's Rustic Beef Shank Bourguignon recipe is as close to the original peasant style recipe as it gets.  Rustic Beef Shank Burgundy is unpretentious, yet hearty enough to satisfy guests.  Simple rustic French paisan entrées like this provide comfort when times are hectic.  
     Rustic Beef Shank Bourguignon:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty entrée.
     Fond means foundation, as in referring to the start of a sauce.  Fond describes the brown bits of the beef that stick to the bottom of the pan.  Suc is another word that describes the brown bits that are stuck to a pan.
     Step 1:  Select a large 10 to 12 ounce beef shank steak.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauteuse pan (or wide sauce pot) over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add the beef shank.
     Sear the beef shank on both sides till it is thoroughly browned.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Remove the beef shank and set it aside on a platter.
     Discard the grease from the pan.
     Step 4:  Place the pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, while stirring with a whisk.
     Try to scrape the brown bits that are stuck to the pan into the butter.
     *The milk fats from the butter will combine with the fond.
     Step 5:  Add about 1 tablespoon of flour to the butter in the pan while stirring, to create a roux.
     Constantly stir till the roux turns a golden blonde color.
     Step 6:  Add 1 1/2 cups of burgundy wine.
     Add 3 cups of rich beef stock while stirring.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil, while occasionally stirring.
     Step 7:  Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 whole garlic clove.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 8:  Return the beef shank to the thin burgundy sauce.
     *There should be enough thin sauce in the pan to cover the beef shank.  Add a little bit of water if there is not enough braising sauce.
     Add 1 center section of a yellow onion.
     Add 1 large piece of peeled carrot that is about 4" long.
     Add 1 fluted large button cave mushroom.
     Add 1 celery stalk that is about 4" long.
     Step 9:  Cover the pan with a lid.
     Place the pan in a 300ºF oven.
     Slowly braise till the beef shank becomes tender.
     Step 10:  Remove the beef shank and vegetables from the braising pan and place them on a platter.
     Set the platter aside.
     Skim off any excess grease that floats on the braising sauce.
     Pour the braising sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a wide sauce pot.
     Step 11:  Place the pot with the braising sauce over medium high heat.
     Rapidly boil and reduce the Burgundy Sauce, till it is a medium thin consistency that easily coats a spoon.
     Step 12:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Return the beef shank and vegetables to the sauce.
     Gently warm the beef shank to a serving temperature.
     Place the beef shank on the front half of a plate.
     Place the rustice mirepoix vegetables on the back half of the place.
     Pour a generous portion of the Burgundy Sauce over the beef shank and onto the plate.
     Serve with sliced rustic farm style French Bread on the side.
     Voila!  The beef bone marrow becomes part of the sauce, and this gives Burgundy Sauce the richness of a Bordelaise Sauce.  This is some good rustic French paisan cooking!

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