Beating the Blues

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Jan 17, 2012

So I found out that Jan 16, 2012 is  Blue Monday, and the date is established through this very intricate formula:

\frac{[W + D-d] T^Q}{M N_a}

where weather=W, debt=d, time since Christmas=T, time since failing our new year’s resolutions=Q, low motivational levels=M and the feeling of a need to take action=Na. ‘D’ is not defined in the release, nor are units. ( Widkipedia)

So what is a person to do on a blue day…..you beat it with a bottle of red wine, not one glass, but a whole bottle !!

I found this recipe a while ago and I really wanted to make it, and since yesterday was Blue Monday, and also a snow day it  made perfect sense to try out this braised beef shank in red wine.    The recipe calls for cross cut beef shank, with marble fat running through the meat and a big chunk of bone in the middle, the slow cooking and the fat will make the meat tender and the bone barrow will make the sauce richer.

I tried to find this cut of meat but unfortunately the only ones I could find is the shin cut, which looks like one big piece of muscle, this cut has less fat and therefore a little tougher.  Next time when I make this recipe again I will for sure get the proper cut of meat.

I love the smell of red wine cooking slowly, it filled the house with this nice warm aroma and it really made the cold wintery day more tolerable.  This morning, as I got out of bed the smell of the wine still lingers on in the air.  Definitely it chased the Blues away 🙂

So here is the recipe from The Kitchn :

Slow Cooker Peppered Beef Shank in Red Wine
serves 4 to 6 as a main course

2 to 2 1/2 pounds beef crosscut shank, fat trimmed away
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable or peanut oil
10 to 12 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 rosemary sprig
750 ml bottle inexpensive red wine, such as Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon
4 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat a wide, deep skillet over medium high heat. Pat the beef shanks dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of oil to the pan, and when it hot, add the beef shank. Sear the meat for at least 7 minutes on each side, creating a dark brown crust. When the meat has been thoroughly browned, remove from the pan and place in a slow cooker insert.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic, onion, and celery. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, letting the onion acquire some browning and color. Add the bay leaf and the rosemary sprig, and pour in the red wine and broth. Add 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. The liquid should reduce by about 1/3. (Check out this brilliant tip for checking to see how far a sauce has reduced.)

Pour the sauce and vegetables over the meat in the slow cooker. Stir in the balsamic vinegar. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on LOW. You will know the meat is done when it is extremely tender and has fallen away from the bone and into small pieces.

If you do not wish to serve it right away, refrigerate. This also makes it easier to remove the excess fat. Spoon out any chilled shards of fat after the shanks have been refrigerated for several hours. To serve, heat gently in its sauce in a Dutch oven or saucepan on the stovetop. Taste and if necessary add additional salt.

Serve over polenta or pasta.

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