Shin of Beef Stew with Marcona Almonds

I know what you're thinking. A stew? Are you crazy?! And the answer is...I may just be, but in my defence I tried to make this dish as light as possible! Anyway, the weather has been quite miserable lately and I wanted something comforting to eat. I could also say that I'm doing this for my Southern Hemisphere homies but that would be telling porkies. I think the issue here might be referring to this dish as a stew when if I had the mind for it I'd come up with a better name. Saying that, Koreans don't stop eating sundubu jjigae when the weatherman's map shows a sun with a smiley face on it, so why should I stop eating my stew? This is quite a filling dish but served in small portions with my honey-glazed carrots it can be transformed into a (relatively) summery evening meal.

Shin of beef is my favourite stewing cut as I think the abundance of connective tissue not only increases the flavour of the accompanying gravy but holds the pieces of meat together really well when cooked for extended durations. I like big chunks of meat in my stews and I cut the meat quite thick and I did the same with the potatoes. I also love to blend my own spice mixes and I went for a really basic accompanying flavour - I tempered cumin seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and dried chilli to release their oils before crushing them. I added Thai fish sauce to the liquid to bring out the beefiness of the beef (increased umami for that 'oh mummy!' reception). Marcona almonds are a more rounded sweeter variety of almond from Spain where they're often served fried and I used them here because I think the flavour they add works really well to bring this dish to life.

I also just wanted to say that this is my 21st post and quite a few people (myself included) didn't think I'd make this blog even last a month but I've been really enjoying it. I've decided from now on to include more pictures in each entry so you lovely readers have more to gawk at. This blog is ever evolving so expect more changes along the way. I'm here for the long-haul.

Shin of Beef Stew
250-300g shin of beef diced
2 medium onions roughly chopped
2 smallish potatoes roughly diced
a handful or so of Marcona almonds
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon or so of rapeseed oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup water
2-3 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
a splash of white wine vinegar
a handful of chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Honey and Sesame Glazed Carrots
12 new season carrots
2-3 tablespoons honey
1/2 lemon juiced
rind of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
salt and pepper

Shin of Beef Stew
Coat the beef in the flour and shake off the excess before frying the beef until browned in half of the rapeseed oil. Remove the beef and set aside. Add the rest of the oil and fry off the onions. When transluscent add the spice mix and fry for half a minute or so. Add the potatoes and the meat back into the pan or pot and add the stock and water. Add the remaining ingredients minus the parsley and salt and pepper. Bring to boil and cover. Simmer on a low heat for 3-4 hours. You need to check the pot every now and then because you might need to add a little bit of water half way through cooking. When done turn off the heat and add 3/4 of the chopped parsley, reserving some for the decoration. In a dry pan roast the almonds and then add those to the pot as well. Serve immediately or wait for it to cool down before serving with the honey and sesame seed glazed carrots.

Note: You can substitute the beef stock for a mixture of half beef stock and half Lebanese beer (such as Almaza) for an even deeper flavour.

Honey and Sesame Glazed Carrots
Using a good vegetable peeler peel away the rough outer skin of the carrots. Add all the ingredients minus the sesame seeds into a baking tray and mix around well. You need to keep turning the carrots to produce an even glaze. This should take 15 or so minutes to cook on a lowish heat. You can leave it for as long or as little as you want (I'd say the minimum is 5 minutes to produce a good glaze). When you're happy with the colour of the carrots sprinkle evenly with the sesame seeds and serve next to the stew.


29 July 2009 at 17:45 Seto said...

That looks delicious! I often see beef shins at my butcher, but I've been reluctant to buy them. This is inspiration!

30 July 2009 at 00:12 M. A. Salha said...

Thanks! I also forget to add that this dish is extremely cheap to make. Shin of beef is about £6/kg but it's creeping back into fashion. I really like using the offcuts and I hope to feature offal (particularly sweetbreads) in the future.

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