It was cold here in TN for like, oh, I don’t know, 10 minutes? Of course, when the temperature drops below 70, my Midwestern Polish roots kick in and I want COMFORT FOOD. Unfortunately, by the time I brought these beautiful beef shanks home, the temps had already spiked back into the 90’s. Sigh, what’s a girl to do? Why, crank up the a/c, of course! I sort of flew by the seat of my pants on this recipe, and (thankfully) it totally worked! Guinness, pomegranate and beef all played quite nicely together braised in a meaty, sweet, malty, beer bath. Perfection!
Ask your butcher for beef shanks (you can also use veal or lamb). The beef should be a deep red, almost purple color. Stay away from bright pink or red colored meat; this means they’ve hit it with carbon monoxide gasses to preserve the color. Quality meat should be dry, not wet, and soft to the touch, and the little white veins of fat weaving paths through the meat is delicious flavor! This recipe will work for 4 regular sized shanks or 2 ginormous ones, like my butcher buddy gave me. (Side note: 2 ginormous beef shanks cost only $8!)
First things first, temper your meat! Let it sit out on the butcher paper it came with for at least 1 hour. After the shanks have been out for an hour, season both sides with salt and pepper, then lightly dust with a little all-purpose flour. Heat a bit of olive oil over medium high heat in a large dutch oven and sear shanks on both sides until browned. About 3-4 minutes per side.
Remove the shanks from the pot and set aside on a plate.
Pour 1/4 cup of Guinness into your pan and allow the stout to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the browned beef bits as you go. Let beer simmer until it’s reduced a bit and then add the diced onions. Sauté until translucent.
Next, add garlic, tomato paste, thyme, cinnamon, cumin, and bay leaf to the pot. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the rest of your Guinness (3/4 cup) and 1 cup of pom juice. Add your beef shanks back into the pot. Pour beef stock over all until the shanks are just covered with liquid.
Place in a pre-heated 300 degree oven for 3 hours, or until meat is tender when pierced with a fork. When you have 1 hour left to go, throw some carrots into the pot. When your 3 hours are up, discard the bay leaf, and remove shanks and carrots from the pot. The shanks will be quite fally-aparty, so be careful! Try to keep the marrow in place, and you’ll be in for a real treat! Let your shanks rest for at least 10 minutes.
While the shanks are resting, make some sauce! Skim the fat off the top and then scoop 3 ladles-full of the beef-pom-guinness broth into a smaller pan. Add the teaspoon of vinegar and turn the heat up to a boil. Let it reduce for 10 minutes, until desired thickness is achieved, then ladle it over your beef!
Garnish with rough chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds. I served the shanks with roasted brussels and mushrooms, a little potato mash, and of course, the braised carrots! Serve with a pint of Guinness or your favorite glass of red wine. Fall on a plate!
Pom-Guinness Braised Beef Shanks
- 4 bone-in beef shanks
- 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, zested
- 2 handfuls of baby carrots
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, pulled from the stalk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup of Guinness
- 1 cup of Pom juice
- 1-2 cups of beef stock
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds
- salt and pepper to taste
The Method: 1. Let shanks temper for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. After an hour has passed, season both sides of shanks with salt and pepper, then dust lightly with flour. 2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven on medium high. Sear the shanks on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side, until well browned. Remove shanks from Dutch oven, and set aside on plate. 3. Deglaze the Dutch oven with 1/4 cup of Guinness, scraping the browned beef bits as you deglaze. Let beer simmer until it’s reduces a bit and then add the diced onions. Sauté until translucent. 4. Next, add garlic, tomato paste, thyme, cinnamon, cumin, and bay leaf to the pot. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the rest of your Guinness (3/4 cup) and 1 cup of pom juice. Place the shanks back into the pot. Pour beef stock over all until the shanks are just covered with liquid. 5. Place Dutch oven in a pre-heated 300 degree oven for 3 hours, or until meat is fork-tender. When you have 1 hour remaining, add carrots to the pot. After 3 hours have passed, discard the bay leaf, and remove shanks and carrots from the pot, being careful to keep marrow and shanks in one piece. Let your shanks rest for at least 10 minutes. 6. Scoop 3 ladle-fulls of the pom-guinness-beef broth into a smaller pan. Add the teaspoon of vinegar and turn the heat up to a boil. Let sauce reduce for 10 minutes, until desired thickness is achieved, then ladle it over your beef! 7. Garnish shanks with flat leaf parsley and pomegranate seeds. 8. Collect accolades and marriage proposals.