Although there were a ton of great dishes to be sampled at the foodbuzz Food Festival in San Francisco this November, only a few dishes really stood out as exceptional. The other dishes that stand out most in my memory aren’t the ones that were done perfectly the first time. The dishes that always stick with me are the ones that were almost perfect. Those dishes that I find myself wondering just what tiny little detail made them less than everything they could have been.
One of those dishes was Mezzetta’s Beer Braised Flank Steak. Sure it was good, but it wasn’t great. It had all the right flavors just not enough of them somehow to compete with the other dishes at the same event. (Don’t blame the chef… competition in that room was fierce!)
The memory of that dish has stuck with me since the festival and when I came across the recipe card in my swag-bag I decided to see if I could take the dish up by that one much needed notch.
Now I have nothing against polenta, which is what the chef originally paired this dish with, but as a good southern boy, I don’t necessarily have polenta on hand, but I always have grits, so my first change was obvious. The second thing I didn’t want to do was to use a bunch of pre-made store bought products to make the dish, regardless of the quality, both because they’re too hard to change to my liking and because I wasn’t terribly thrilled with the first attempt.
Don’t let the seemingly large list of ingredients frighten or deter you. Basically I just built a pasta sauce in a braising liquid and let it thicken as it went. You’ll be amazed how quickly it all goes together and how absolutely powerful the flavors are. It’s simply an awe-inspiring dish and one I recommend that you give a bit of time to while the weather is chill.
Beer Braised Beef Shank with Garlic Grits Recipe
- 3 lbs. bone in beef shank
- 1 yellow onion, rough chopped
- 2 celery stalks, rough chopped
- 2 carrots, rough chopped
- 1 10.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juices
- 12 oz. beer, preferably amber
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 32 oz vegetable broth
- 1 tsp beef bullion
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 sprigs rosemary.
Garlic Cheese Grits:
- 3 cups water
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup quick grits
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Season beef shanks well on both sides with salt and pepper. Place meat in hot pan and brown well on both sides. Transfer beef to a roasting pan or deep baking dish. Add celery, carrots and onion to the roasting pan. Combine all other ingredients except rosemary in a large bowl and pour over beef and vegetables. Toss rosemary in roasting pan and cover well with foil.
Place in oven and cook for 3-4 hours, or until beef falls apart easily. Serve over Garlic Cheese Grits.
Bring water and salt to a boil over high heat. Slowly stir in grits, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for 6 minutes.
Mix in butter, olive oil, garlic and cheese, stir to combine. (Add a tbsp. of water at a time if grits are too thick.)
Serve immediately, topped with beer braised beef.
What I would have done Differently had I thought of it at the time:
I think next time I’ll cook the grits in chicken stock, rather than water for a bit richer flavor. Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Links to other recipes like this: