This is a shot at the big cooking pan full of vegetables and the beef shank I braised with them since it makes about 8 servings and the shank will be pulled apart to add bits of beef to each serving. This takes several hours in the oven, so you must plan ahead, but it takes very little to prepare.
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 tsp shaved nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 beef shank
- 1.5 onions, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 3 small potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 cups frozen Italian beans
- 2 cans of diced tomatoes
- bay leaves
- salt and pepper
To begin, I warmed olive oil on medium heat is a big pan. I shaved about 1 tsp of nutmeg into the oil using a microplane. I added 6 peppercorns and a tsp of cinnamon. I let the oil heat until the spices thoroughly infused the oil and the air was rich and aromatic. This is enough nutmeg to be spicy, to leave a bit of tingle on your tongue. You can use less, but I love the flavor it brings.
I added the beef shank and let it brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. While it was browning, I chopped 1 and a half onions and 2 stalks of celery.
Removing the shank from the oil and setting it aside while I sautéed the vegetable. I added the onions and celery and let them cook. I added some salt and pepper.
I turned the oven on to 350° to pre-heat.
I chopped up the carrots, potatoes and smashed and peeled the garlic gloves. When the onions were transparent, I added these veggies and let them cook for a few minutes. I added some salt and pepper.
Then I added the Italian beans and diced tomatoes and stirred everything together. I added some salt and pepper, then I tossed in a bay leaf and put the shank back in the pan.
Remember that adding salt and pepper throughout the cooking builds flavors more effectively and helps avoid over-salting at the end.
I put the pan in the oven and let it braise for the next 3 hours. It was delicious, spicy and aromatic. It made at least eight servings, so I stored it in an airtight container and reheated for several meals.