Monday, 23 November 2009

Successful experiment

The other week I saw a butcher on the box refer to shin of beef on the bone, and it set me thinking. We do Jamie Oliver's slow-roast shoulder of lamb, which is completely delicious, and I wondered if we couldn't do something similar with shin of beef.

I ordered some from Bury Lane Farm Shop, collected it on Saturday and we cooked it yesterday, inviting Jane along as quality control.

So the picture on the left is the lump of shin, which must have weighed 3 lbs and as you can see, even though there's a hefty piece of bone in there, there's masses of meat. The first surprise was what it cost - £6. Yes, a mere ill cephalopod (sick squid).

I dusted it with flour and mustard powder, then browned it in a pan before sticking it in a roasting tray with some slices of onion and half an inch of water. Covered it with a double layer of foil and stuck it in the oven at midday. 15 minutes flat out, then turned it down to 120° C. That was actually too low. After 3 hours it was still really tough, so we upped the temperature to 140° C which was probably what it should have been all along.

An hour before serving it, we stuck in some carrots and parsnips, and eventually served it around 8.30, so you can easily work out how long it had been cooking. By that time the marrow had all melted and drained out of the bone, making this incredible gravy.

And it was tender, juicy and delicious! For much of the afternoon we'd been rather dubious about it, as the smell emanating from the oven wasn't all that tempting, but the end result really was worth it. And it was no effort, since all we did was look at it every few hours to assess whether or not it was going to be OK for dinner.

Starter was smoked eel caesar salad with baby cos lettuce leaves from the grow-bag in my greenhouse and pud was bubbling plum and orange compote, which I've blogged about before.

All accompanied by rather too many oodles of wine, resulting in a small hangover this morning. Ho hum.

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