It’s Winter and the team at Kinderhook Farm are working hard on keeping everything fed and sheltered from the weather. Work days are a little shorter these days though so we have some time to think about other things such as the stranger, more unusual cuts of meat and how to use them. A lot of the farm customers are really into food and like trying new things. To help with this one of our goals for 2012, in addition to the exciting new website, is to have more recipes and ideas on the Kinderhook Farm Kitchen blog. The silver lining to all this thinking about food is that we get to have some pretty delicious meals.
Last week the cut in question was beef shin or osso bucco so I decided to work on two recipes. This would give us the opportunity to compare two preparations at once, tough work but someone has to do it!
The first recipe I chose was from Jamie Oliver and the beef was slow-cooked in red wine and tomatoes and the second was a Neil Perry recipe where the beef was braised in Guinness, both used boned shin of beef. I decided to serve them completely separately with their own side dishes, the Jamie Oliver ‘melt in your mouth shin’ with a root vegetable mash and the Neil Perry Beef Shin braised in Guinness with soft polenta, gremolata and sauteed kale and collards.
Both recipes were very easy to prepare once the shin was boned, trimmed and cut up.
The Guinness dish required browning and was cooked on top of the stove and the wine braised dish took longer to cook but was done in the oven but neither took much time to prepare, once everything was in the pot they just got on with cooking slowly without you having to watch over them…perfect. Both, however, started with a lot of vegetables being sauteed for a little while to form the base of the braise.
After the required cooking time the kitchen smelled delicious and after a few chicken liver crostini (another story) we all sat down to taste the results. It was a demanding crowd, Georgia and Lee, Adam and Anna, Meg, Martha and Richard plus our friend and neighbour Harry. Everyone took the job very seriously and the comments were free flowing and the discussion lively.
Both recipes had their fans and the discussion then was around what made each one a favorite. Was the size of the meat pieces what made the difference or whether the choice of side dishes swayed people’s votes? Overall we decided that both were great but that we may tweak them slightly when we do them again. For example I did not use porcini in my version of the Jamie Oliver recipe due to a personal aversion but for those amongst you who like them they may be a great addition. We also thought that maybe we would reduce the braising liquid in the Guinness recipe at the end of the cooking period a little more next time to thicken it up a little. After all the deliberating we finished off with a fig and frangipane tart…not bad for a Sunday night. All in all we felt the meal was a real success and we are planning more and we would indeed recommend both recipes. They are ideal for cold, dark Winter evenings. Little time is invested in terms of prep work but the long slow braise really turns a hard working muscle into delicious comfort food. Try them for yourselves and let us know how you get on. Shin of beef is almost always available in the farm store so swing by and pick some up.