Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sunday Supper Series #6: Low-key beef shank

A low-key dinner this past weekend as we were both recovering from a longer-than-usual run. Every winter brings more walking and less running, due mainly to the shortness of the days and our dislike of running after dark. And like clockwork, every late winter-early spring brings the struggle to get back into shape as the days grow longer again. Only these days we find the getting back into the swing of things harder and harder. Could it be age? Heaven forbid…
Anyway, I left dinner in the slow cooker while we went on our run. When we got back the smell of braising beef met my nostrils the moment I opened the door. I used a Polyface beef shank and made a traditional osso buco braise with white wine, stock, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic and herbs. I will digress and note that I was a little taken aback when I saw the Polyface beef shank. Instead of cut into small rounds, it was left whole, making it a rather large cut of meat, reminiscent of something Wilma would serve Fred Flintstone.
You can see what I mean.

Menu: Polyface beef osso buco, green beans, smashed potatoes, salad, fresh bread.

I think the highlight of this meal was the bread. I have been trying out different artisan bread recipes and I think I have finally settled on one that I really appreciate for both its flavor and texture. It is 75% whole wheat and requires a four-hour sponge. In order to improve the overall flavor, each week I take a small chunk of the risen dough, put it in a clean container and store it in the fridge for a week. The next week I add it in as I am mixing the sponge. I think it makes for a more fragrant and yeasty loaf.
For some reason I felt like drinking white wine on Sunday night. Usually I am all for reds with my beef, but not this time. Instead I opened an Alsatian white blend, Rene Sparr’s 2008 One, which according to the bottle, is 28.5% Muscat, 20% Sylvaner, 20%Edelzwicker, 10.5% Pinot Blanc, 10.5% Riesling, 10.5% Gewurztraminer. Not bad. Crisp, on the dry side, but still perfume-y in a raspberry sort of way, light on the oak, vanilla that doesn’t overwhelm. It actually complemented well with the beef. We drove by the Rene Sparr winery on our whirlwind tour through Alsace. I wish I had made my brother stop.
 Instead of saving the big bone for stock, T took it down to the basement and whacked it into two pieces for MP. So we all had a good meal to start the week.

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