A hearty stew that makes you think of crisp, cold days up in the Highlands of Scotland and all the comfort you’ll need to get you warmed up and feeling cosy. Everything goes in the pot and finished in the oven. It’s super easy and great for feeding friends for an informal supper.
One 4½-pound bone beef shank (or 3 pounds boneless beef shank, cut into cubes)
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 pint stout beer or ale
3-4 cups vegetable stock, homemade or store-bought
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig marjoram
6 shallots (or 3 small onions), coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
Serves 4-6 guests
1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Choose a casserole pot that the shank will fit into whole (or a smaller pot will work if you are using pieces). It’s worth taking the pot to the butcher and asking him to give you a cut that will fit your pot! Heat the oil in the pot and add the beef shank, brown on all sides. (A dusting of flour on the meat helps if you are using pieces of beef rather than the shank. Simply dip the pieces of beef in the flour before you start frying in the oil.)
3. Add the beer and stock to the pot. The liquid should come about 3/4 of the way up the pot. Bring to the boil.
4. Add all the vegetables and herbs to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Turn the heat off and cover with a tight fitting lid.
6. Bake in the oven for 3 to 4 hours. The meat will be tender and falling from the bone when ready. (Test after 2½ hours to see if tender.)