This was one of the most popular sharing dishes I cooked when Head Chef at The Potting Shed (quiet voice) “outside London”. It’s designed for at least two, greedy people. It came to the table, along with a waiter/waitress, in an earthenware pot, resplendent with serving spoons and the self-confident glow of a dish which is so comforting it should work for the Samaritans. The mash is the perfect pillow to suck up all the amazing sauce that the dish is cooked in and the Salsa Verde gives it the necessary bite and thrust to check the richest of the meat.
It is amazing winter food and though it takes a while to cook it is neither taxing nor labour intensive. I would urge you, in the very strongest terms, to give it a whirl.
You can get any Butcher worth his/her salt to supply the shin – a super cheap cut – and also get them to prep. it for you, should you wish.
for the Beef:
750g shin of beef, cut into 1″ rounds
250g unsmoked Pancetta, cut into largish lardons
50ml red wine
500g large carrots, peeled and chopped – you don’t need to neat
1/2 head of celery, chopped roughly
500g round shallots or button onions – skinned but kept whole
250g single concentrate tomato puree
500ml beef stock – if you buy it Waitrose do a good one or Knorr Stock pots are actually OK
1 bouquet garni: 1x bay leaf, 2x parsley stalk, 2x oregano stalk, 2x thyme stalk tied together with string
5 tbsp vegetable oil
for the Mash:
500g Maris Piper Potatoes, peeled
250g salted butter
125ml full-fat milk to loosen the mix – add more if necessary
for the Salsa Verde:
3 tbsp flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp basil
3 tbsp coriander
3 tbsp capers, drained
2 cloves garlic
6 anchovy fillets
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 banana shallots, diced finely
175ml extra virgin olive oil
1. Heat the oil in your biggest pan (unless your biggest pan is large enough to fit a whole pig, in which case use the size down from that…)
2. In batches sear the shin of beef rounds until a beautiful dark, caramelised colour on all sides. We do it in batches so as not to diffuse the heat between too much meat. This would result in the meat boiling and turning a sad, grey colour. It would also mean that all the great flavour and moisture in the meat would leak out and over the long cooking time the beef would become flavourless and dry.
3. Once all the meat is a healthy “I’ve just holidayed in Zanzibar” brown remove it from the pan and set aside.
4. Next do the same with the Pancetta.
5. Now throw in all the chopped vegetables and get it all colouring. Don’t let it catch.
6. You will notice that meat and vegetable residue is starting to stick to the bottom of the pan. We want that people! So add a splash of the red wine to the mix and scrape up all that lovely flavour up.
7. Reacquaint the Beef and Pancetta to the pan, add the bouquet garni and cover the lot with the red wine and the stock.
8. Turn the heat down low and cook for 5 hours – go away a write a holiday brochure or treatment for a new sitcom. Fill your boots. The shin is quite happy bubbling away. Occasionally, perhaps when making yourself a coffee or looking for a lost cat, check on the pot to make sure it isn’t misbehaving or becoming racist. If there is any froth or “scum” on the top, skim this off with a slotted spoon.
With about an hour left on the beef clock return to the kitchen, refreshed, and start to make the accompaniments.
1. Throw together all the dry ingredients on a board and chop. You can go to town and chop as though your life depends on it or be more laid back and “rustic” about it – depends how coarse you want your salsa to be.
2. Once chopped add the dry things to a bowl and mix through the dijon mustard.
3. Now, pouring slowly in a steady stream, add the olive oil whisking the mixture as you go. This will emulsify all the ingredients together. If the oil looks like it’s getting the better of you stop, continue whisking and only start the pour again once you are happy it isn’t going to split. The last thing we want is a one-parent salsa verde!
4. Finally add the lemon juice.
1. Peel your spuds.
2. Chop into quarters (sixths if big) and add to salted water in a pan on the stove.
3. Boil until you can easily insert a knife and the spud slips off the blade.
4. Drain and mash with a masher OR, if you have one, pass through a sieve (sometimes called a Tamis by Chefs and pretentious people).
5. Melt the butter in the same pan (less washing up), add the milk and introduce the dairy to the mashed potato.
6. Mix in well, until lovely and smooth and season to your taste.
The shin should be super tender and yielding by now – a big, bold, indulgent hug of beefy goodness.
Ladle and strain some of the cooking juice from the big pan into a saucepan and reduce until it coats the back of a spoon – this is your gravy.
Season if required.
Now heap some gorgeous, buttery mash into a bowl, whack the shin – along with the veg. you cooked it with (but not the bouquet garni – you can discard that) – on top, cover with the thickened gravy and finish with a great big dollop of Salsa Verde.
All that is left to be done is eat!