This post is the first in a series. Follow along with me as i dive deep into the how and why of turning those tough cuts of meat into a nutrient dense meal your family will devour.
A few months ago I made the decision to purchase a quarter share of a cow. I contacted a ranch local to me and paid them to raise a cow for me. I took a quarter share and the rancher keeps the rest for themselves or to sell shares to other families. This cow was 100% pasture raised, grain free and dry aged two weeks.
I made this decision very intentionally and took on the responsibility of learning how to cook every obscure cut that came along with the more well known ones. My intention is to always make choices that positively impact my families nutritional health because as a wife and mother this is my job. Eating what has been termed nose-to-tail provides more complete and balanced nutrition than eating the typically lean muscle meats alone. it is also less wasteful.
What is the beef shin?
The beef shin, also called the beef shank is a cut of meat from the leg of the heifer or steer. Since this cut gets worked constantly by the animal, it contains a high amount of connective tissue. The lovely gelatinous connective tissue adds to the broth in this recipe, creating an incredibly nutrient dense dish. In fact, what makes this cut even more of a super star, is the beautiful bone marrow at the center of every cut. When it comes to nose to tail eating, this piece has it all.
Why is connective tissue so important in meat?
It is these cuts that could potentially help heal and seal your gut. Many people have become aware in the last decade about the relationship between a leaky gut and autoimmune conditions. Eating nose to tail is what ensures you are getting an adequate amount of glycine into your body. Glycine is a very important amino acid that plays a role in supporting the immune system, regulating blood sugar and improving gut health (a passion of ours). Glycine is not present in more conventional cuts like N.Y. Strip.
Low and Slow
It’s these gelatinous cuts that require slow cooking. A process known as braising. Slow cooking allows the connective tissue time to break down. The depth of flavor this cut of meat achieves will minimal seasonings. Below is the recipe I used to prepare my Shin Beef stew.
1 or more beef shins about 2 pounds each
1 leek chopped
2 celery stalks chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 1/2 cups beef broth
Orange zest of 1/2 small orange
1 pound creamer potatoes kept whole
2 large carrots chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 parsnip chopped into 1 inch pieces
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Season shin beef with salt and pepper on both sides
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Brown shin beef 2-3 minutes per side then remove and set aside.
5. Add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil to the Dutch oven and sauté leeks, celery and garlic for 5 minutes.
6. Return shin beef to the pot and add the beef broth, orange zest and enough water to cover. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Bring pot to a boil then cover and place in oven. Braise for 2 hours.
8. Add the potatoes, carrots and parsnips and continue to braise another 1 to 2 hours. The beef should easily fall off the bone.
9. Once cooking is complete, shred meat off bone, including scraping out bone marrow and it to the soup.
Serve and enjoy!