Comforting Shin of Beef in Ale
It’s been so cold and so windy that KJ has been under wraps for a while – but slow and low casserole cooking is ideal – once the charcoal is lit and the pot in it can be left for hours to turn into the perfect comfort food writes Sandra Tate…
No messing around here with frying off or browning, just dusting all with flour and into the pot it goes with the ale – all the magic happens over that long, slow and gentle cooking time. It is up to you what beer to use but a proper-job rustic local ale is preferable to a can of lager if you want a rich, full flavoured result. Shin of beef is a cheap cut but one which gives enormously good flavour and tenderness when cooked gently for a long period. The results are well worth waiting for.
First off, get the charcoal lit. Once fired up, place the heat deflector at low level and the grill rack at high and establish a steady temperature of 140°C/280°F.This casserole will feed 4.
Back indoors toss 600g of diced shin of beef; 8 slices of streaky bacon, chopped; 4 medium sized carrots, peeled and cut into chunky wedges; 200g chestnut mushrooms, quartered; and 8-12 small shallots, peeled in 30g of well seasoned plain flour. Place all in a casserole pan, sit 2 bay leaves and a sprig of fresh thyme on top and pour over 300ml of ale/beer. Now bring the stew to a gentle simmer over a medium heat then cover with a tight fitting lid and transfer to the Kamado Joe. Leave for 3 hours with the lid on then remove the lid for a further hour (shin requires low and slow cooking to become beautifully tender and gelatinous – too little and it will be mighty tough, and very disappointing!). If the liquid level is low, add a little water. With the lid removed the stew takes on some of that irresistible smoky Joe flavour.
To do this justice you will need some buttery potato to mop up with that amazing sauce – I’m a fan of baked potatoes so cooked some medium sized spuds around the pan for the final couple of hours. Rub the skins with olive oil and roll in a little sea salt. Or you may prefer to cook up a goodly amount of buttery mashed potatoes. Either way this really hits the spot on a cold day.