From the cut sheet I ordered what we wanted, and Greg let me know right then if the combinations I asked for would work. For instance, I didn't order porterhouse or t-bone steaks because if I got those big steaks, there would be no New York strip or filets mignon, since they are the large and small parts of a porterhouse. To help me visualize what we would be getting, I printed out a diagram of a beef, just like in the cartoons when the farmer looks at his cow and sees the steaks and roasts superimposed on the cow's body. (Unlike the cartoons, a sharp knife and fork did not immediately appear in my hands and my eyes didn't bulge out in a gluttonous frenzy.)
So the shank is the steer's leg, cut crosswise, meat surrounding a round bone in each one inch slice. This is a tough cut of meat, since the steer walks on it all the time, but with slow, careful braising, beef shanks can be moist and flavorful. Low and and slow is the name of the game, and I am not talking about classic low rider cars, homies!
|Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com|
I served the beef shanks on a puddle of polenta, using this recipe, Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta, from The Pioneer Woman's website.
The photo above is the first time I cooked polenta, and you can see how it spread on the plate. I should have cooked it a little longer to thicken. On the second attempt I added 5 minutes, with more lava bubbles (check out the photo below so you understand what I mean) and lots of galooping sounds as the bubbles burst. Cooking polenta, which is essentially a corn meal version of Cream of Wheat cereal or rice grits, is easy if you remember to slowly pour the cornmeal into the boiling water, whisking, whisking, whisking. If you pour it all in at once, it may be lumpy, and you want smooth.
The beef shanks recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups of red wine. Don't use your expensive fancy stuff for this, but use an everyday dry red table wine, like 3 Buck Chuck, which we purchase by the case at Trader Joe's.
|This is Three Buck Chuck, aka Charles Shaw. In California I think it's still Two Bucks.|
Enjoy, and have an excellent weekend! I have some sewing to do! Yay!