We were out in search for cupcakes when we stumbled upon what could possibly be our favorite butcher shop. We got our cupcakes first, and then made a U-turn and headed two blocks south to where we first saw the butcher shop when we were on our way to fulfill our cupcake mission. The Butcher & Larder is a winner. They have everything we could ever want from pork belly to roasted beef/lamb/pork bones to duck meat. It doesn't even smell like a butcher shop. Among other things, we walked out with two beautiful pieces of beef shank. And then we had a plan. Preparing for that night's dinner was in order. Armed with these beautiful pieces of meat, we headed to our favorite local grocer (the kind where it has been handed down to the next generation and we can buy a whole box of produce and only get charged $15...what?!)
We learned a new root vegetable that day. Rutabaga (roo-tuh-bay-guh). They were in a box next to the turnips and our grocer told us that rutabagas are like turnips. We added it to our produce box. Later we looked it up on Wikipedia and found out that rutabagas are swedish turnips. When cooked, the color, texture, and taste reminded us of sweet potatoes. The rutabaga is on the left most side of the picture below.
I don't think we could have been happier with how well marbled the beef shanks were as shown in the picture below. The marbling on the beef made the meat so much more tender and soft when biting into it. Beef shanks are probably not the most popular cut of meat for people to buy as the meat is thought to be tough but if stewed and simmered for a few hours it will turn out beautifully.
2 lbs beef shanks
1 medium white onion
1 large carrot
1 medium turnip
1 medium rutabaga
2 medium Russet potatoes
2 large stalks of leek
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorn
Salt to taste
1. Peel and cut into chunks the onion, carrot, turnip, rutabaga, and potatoes. Using only the white and light green parts of the leeks, cut into 2-inch lengths.
2. In a large pot, combine the onion and half the carrot and leeks. Add in the beef shanks and throw in the thyme sprigs, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Sprinkle salt over the ingredients (you can always add more salt later). Fill the pot with water until it covers the ingredients. Bring to boil under high heat and then let simmer under low heat for about 2 hours.
3. Add the remaining carrot and leeks along with the turnip and rutabaga into the pot. Continue to simmer under low heat for about 45 minutes. Add in the potatoes and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. If needed, season with a little bit more salt.
4. Skim the fat or oil off the broth before serving. Dish out into serving bowls.