Serve this Slow Cooker Red Wine Beef Shank Stew with mashed potatoes, rice or pasta.
Fall is here and despite the fact that we’ve been having warm weather still here in Connecticut, I’ve already been thinking about all the comfort food that we start craving as the weather turns cooler. Stews, chili and soups are some of the meals I start to make more of with the change of seasons. The good news is that it’s easy to use cheaper cuts of meat that are tougher in these meals because they benefit from low, slow cooking.
Recently, I found grass fed beef shank for $6.99/pound, a bargain compared to other cuts of grass fed beef. Grass fed beef is typically more expensive than regular beef, so using less expensive cuts like been shank make grass fed beef more affordable. The key is coaxing the tenderness out of this tough cut of meat while keeping it nice and moist.
For added depth of flavor, I tried using some Taste #5 Umami paste, a souped up tomato paste, with an extra boost of umami from porcini mushrooms, olives, garlic, balsamic vinegar, anchovies, and Parmesan Reggiano. I splurged on a tube of Umami paste just to try it and I’ll be honest – I don’t think it was worst the cost. Regular tomato paste is much more economical and I think would work just as well. The key is to caramelize the tomato paste with the vegetables to get the best flavor. Add your own umami flavors by tucking in some porcini mushrooms, using soy sauce in place of salt when seasoning to taste, and sprinkling some Parmesan cheese on top for serving.
This Slow Cooker Red Wine Beef Shank Stew is delicious served with crusty bread, or over steamed rice or pasta.
Leftovers can be frozen and turned into a Mashed Cauliflower Potato Crusted Beef Casserole (pictured below), or Beef Vegetable Soup (just add some broth, cooked whole grains or pasta, and chopped leafy green vegetables).
To make this Mashed Cauliflower Potato Crusted Beef Casserole, simply chop the leftover beef stew into bite size pieces, top with mashed cauliflower potatoes and sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese. Bake the whole thing at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes until stew is hot and topping is browned.
I made this beef stew for this month’s Recipe Redux Theme Fantastic Freezer Meals: “Share your tips and tricks for making one – or more freezer meals. It’s the end of the gardening season for some of us; let’s store away that produce in heat-and-eat-from-the-freezer-meals. Show how convenient healthy freezer breakfast, lunches or dinners can be!”
This recipe takes one meal and turns it into two or three meals.
Slow Cooker Red Wine Beef Shank Stew
- 3 pounds beef shank
- sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cups large onion chopped
- 4 cups carrots chopped
- 3 cups celery stalks chopped
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 tablespoons umami paste or tomato paste
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence (or substitute a mixture of thyme, oregano, rosemary)
- 3 cups chopped tomatoes (30 ounces)
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Season beef shank pieces with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat oil in a large pot and brown beef shank pieces on both sides. Transfer to slow cooker. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic to pot and saute until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add umami paste and saute another minute. Add red wine, Herbs de Provence and tomatoes; stir to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of the pot.
Transfer everything to slow cooker; cover and cook on high for 6 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For extra umami flavor, add some porcini mushrooms, season with soy sauce instead of salt and serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.