You can use any cut of braising beef that you wish to in this recipe, such as oxtail, which I’ve used with excellent success in the past. I’ve used beef shin on the bone here, which is essentially the shank of beef cut transversely across, giving you a large piece of beef with a centre bone. This is an excellent cut of beef for stewing as it has lots of connective tissue which melts away in slow cooking, leaving deliciously tender and flavoursome beef which falls away from the bone. The marrow in the centre of the bone also melts away during cooking, further enhancing the mouth watering moreish comfort of this ragù. The best part of this dish is that the oven really does most of the work. There are only a few simple ingredients that require a little effort but the most important and key element here is time. This is weekend, put it in the oven, watch a Saturday matinee, lazy sort of food. I’ve spoken before in my Bolognese recipe about the importance of giving time in cooking. Give it here; you’ll be grateful that you did.
When it comes to the wine there’s no need to break into the cellar for the most expensive vintage bottle but do use one that you would drink yourself. As I’ve spoken about before, the final result of your dish is the sum of the original ingredients that go into it. The wine, and the flavour that it brings, is a big component of this recipe so it’s worth going with something decent.
On a slight tangent I got this beef shin through a service called Larder360, which is a new shopping and delivery service in Galway. Designed to bring local producers to the consumer in contrast to the usual, it has assembled producers such as Gannet Fish, the Friendly Farmer with free-range poultry, free-range pork, lamb, and beef from Castlemine Farm, and Kinvara Smoked Salmon, among others. You order online and they deliver to your home or place of work on a Friday. It’s the first time here that I’ve recommended a service but as I’ve always stated, I’m always looking for the best possible ingredients to cook with. I’m also conscious about animal welfare and ethical farming practices. Finally, I’m also looking to support local producers and suppliers where I can. However, access to all these can be a problem. For me, Larder360 bridges that gap, bringing good quality produce from local producers direct to your door. It’s definitely something to consider. Check out more about them here www.larder360.com
Note: When browning off the beef, treat it like a steak. A searingly hot pan, oil the meat, season generously, and cook for 3 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan here, so you may need to do it in batches. Overcrowding the pan will reduce the temperature of the pan too much, causing the meat to sweat rather than fry. What you are looking for is a nice colour on the meat; colour is flavour and will add to the overall end result of this ragù.