The shin of an animal does an incredible amount of work, and as a result has to be cooked long and slow until melting and tender. After cooking it for five hours or thereabouts, what you get in return is the most sticky, melting meat and all the intense goodness that comes out of the bone. Feel free to experiment with red wine and other interesting root veg like turnips. Pre-order your shin from the butcher, as the bone is often taken out.
To drink (F&HE): Go for a spicy shiraz that will match the “weight” of the dish − try the 2005 Boschendal Shiraz Reserve.
Six-hour shin of beef
- 3kg shin of beef, on the bone
- salt and freshly grated black pepper, to taste
- olive oil
- 6 thick rashers of streaky bacon
- 3 red onions, quartered
- 4 garlic cloves
- a small bunch of fresh thyme
- a small bunch of fresh rosemary
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
- ½ celeriac, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 6 large carrots, peeled and halved
- 3 parsnips, peeled and halved
- a bottle of white wine
Preheat your oven to 170°C. Heat a very large casserole or a deep roasting tray on the hob. Season the shin well and fry it in a couple of good glugs of olive oil until brown all over. Add the bacon, onions and garlic, and fry for a further 5 minutes.
Throw in the herbs, bay leaves and remaining vegetables. Pour in the wine, refill the bottle with water and pour that in too. Bring to the boil. Now get a damp piece of greaseproof paper, oil it one side and drape it over the dish, oil-side down, so it touches the surface. Cover tightly with a lid – if you have one that fits your dish – or with foil. Place in the oven for five to six hours, until you can push a knife into it and it feels like butter and the meat falls easily away from the bone.
Shred the meat off the bone with your fingers or a fork, discarding any large pieces of fat and any woody herb stalks. Mix the meat and the veg and serve with some lovely crusty bread.