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This dish is especially wonderful in the cooler months. It is at once hearty and delicious, and chock full of nutrients—a perfect meal to fuel you through the holiday season.
Braising is a remarkably easy method of cooking that produces great results. Low temperatures combined with extended cooking times tenderize less costly cuts of meat that would otherwise be too tough, making this dish a money-saver in your food budget as well.
It’s best to include the bone when braising meats since this creates complex flavors that are hard (if not impossible) to accomplish without one. In addition to unmatched taste, bone-in braised meats are more nutrient dense. As the meal slowly cooks, minerals and other nutrients from the bone are infused into the meat.
Also, bone-in cuts of meat contain collagen, which is replete with essential amino acids. With this low-and-slow cooking method, collagen dissolves into easily digestible gelatin. Regular consumption of gelatin-rich foods can have a powerful impact on the health of your skin, hair, joints, immune system, and gut. Gelatin is also responsible for the remarkably smooth, rich sauce that is the hallmark of braising.
Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 4-5 hours
- 4 grassfed beef shanks
- 1½ cups beef or chicken bone broth
- ½ cup red wine
- ½ teaspoon ground black peppercorns
- 1 large orange, juiced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 fennel bulb, cut into 8 wedges
- 1 yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
- 2 large carrots, quartered
- 2 tablespoons ghee (tallow, lard, or duck fat will also work)
- Unrefined sea salt, to taste
- Bone broth reduction sauce (optional; see below)
- Preheat oven to 300° F.
- Combine bone broth and orange juice in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
- Heat ghee or fat over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. The pot should be very hot, but be careful not to let the fat smoke.
- Pat the shanks dry and season them with salt and pepper. Place the shanks into the hot fat to sear until caramelized. Rotate the shanks until all sides are a golden brown. Remove from the pot and place on a plate.
- Reduce heat and carefully place the carrots, onion, and fennel into the pot. Cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes until they start to caramelize.
- Add the garlic the last 30 seconds or so and stir into the vegetable mixture.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine, then add the broth and orange juice mixture.
- Return the shanks to the pot, cover, and place in the oven for about 3 hours. The shanks are finished when the meat falls away from the bones.
- Remove shanks from the pot and place on a plate. Reserve remaining contents for bone broth reduction sauce, if desired.
Bone Broth Reduction Sauce
- Strain the remaining contents of the pot and discard the vegetables. Pour the liquid into a gravy separator.
- Return the liquid to the Dutch oven over high heat. Be careful not to pour the fat layer back in.
- Reduce until the sauce is thick and clings to the back of a spatula.
- Remove from heat and finish with a pat of chilled, unsalted butter. (Add the butter to the sauce and whisk or rotate the pot slowly, allowing the butter to emulsify.)
- Pour over meat and serve.
Chef Taylor Allen attended San Diego Culinary Institute where she acquired knowledge of traditional French cooking techniques. Taylor offers personal, in-home ancestral food preparation and real-food kitchen retrofits. She specializes in GAPS protocol as well as paleo and gluten- and casein-free meals.
Check out other Taylor Allen recipes:
Published in the Price-Pottenger Journal of Health and Healing
Fall 2020 | Volume 44, Number 3
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