These braised Beef Shanks are cooked in the Dutch Oven with lots of veggies, herbs and wine for hours to create a rich, fall off the bone tender beef dish. Serve this hearty dish with mashed potatoes, polenta or rice for a satisfying & comforting meal:).
Beef Shanks vs Osso Bucco
I have cooked these braised beef shanks similarly to how you’d cook Osso Bucco (with few small differences). However, this is not an Osso Bucco dish since the traditional Osso Bucco is made with veal shanks.
When I grew in Albania, veal was a very common meat to find in a butcher’s store. It’s the same in Italy and other Mediterranean countries. But veal doesn’t seem to be very popular where I currently live in Florida.
So I haven’t cooked real Osso Bucco in a long, long time!! But I get to try similar variations by using beef shanks, which are also inexpensive compared to veal.
I love cooking with beef shanks. They do take a bit longer to cook to get them to be tender and fall off the bone. However, there are a lot more benefits to using beef shanks for cooking then downsides.
- Beef shanks are less expensive than other cuts of meat.
- Beef shanks come with bone in and provide a great amount of collagen when cooked. The bone marrow is a concentrated source of collagen.
- Beef shanks are high in protein and low in fat.
- Because of the way they’re sold, beef shanks require very little to no prep at all before cooking (depending on how you’ll cook them).
- Using less famous cuts of meat helps with food sustainability.
How To Braise Beef Shanks?
I love to use a dutch oven to braise beef shanks. It does take longer to cook, but they come out so tender that the meat falls off the bone as I’m serving the dish. You can use a pressure cooker as well to cook this dish faster.
Here’s a quick rundown of the process I use to braise beef shanks in the dutch oven.
- chop veggies like onions, carrots and celery as well as mince garlic.
- coat beef shanks in flour.
- sear beef shanks well on both sides and set them aside.
- saute the veggies and garlic until translucent
- deglaze with wine
- add beef shanks back in as well as herbs, broth, tomatoes and seasonings
- cook on low
Tips and Notes
Here are some other additional tips and notes for this dish.
- beef shanks usually have a layer of very thin fat on the outside. You can remove it by scraping it or leave it in. I usually leave it in. It helps hold the structure together while it cooks to only later fall apart as you are serving.
- It’s very important to season beef shanks with lots of salt and black pepper before coating them with flour.
- you can add leeks to the veggies if they’re in season.
- A nice addition to this dish is bay leaves.
- don’t rush the cooking process!
How To Serve Braised Beef Shanks?
I love to serve these beef shanks with yellow saffron rice or orzo. Other side dishes that would be great for this dish are polenta and mashed potatoes.
Wine Pairings – while I’m not a wine expert, I enjoy a good glass of wine with certain meals. I love Pinot Noir with Veal Osso Bucco, while for braised beef shanks like this dish I enjoy a glass of Malbec or Merlot.
Braised Beef Shanks in the Dutch Oven
- 1 Dutch Oven
- 2 beef shanks they tend to be about 1 lb each give or take
- 2 carrots
- 3 celery ribs
- 1 white onion
- 4 tbsps all purpose flour please note that not all of it will coat the beef shanks but you need enough on the plate to coat on both sides. Shake off the excess.
- 1 cup red wine
- 4 tbsps olive oil (divided 2 tbsps for searing and 2 tbsps for sauteing) extra virgin
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 rosemary twigs fresh
- 6 thyme sprigs fresh
- 1 tsp sea salt adjust to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper adjust to taste
- 14 ozs crushed tomatoes use 4-5 fresh tomatoes or 1 can of crushed tomatoes
- 8 ozs beef broth
- 2 tbsps fresh parsley (for garnish)
- Peel, wash and dice the carrots. Dice the celery ribs too. Chop the onion and set the vegetables aside. Also, mince the garlic and set that aside as well. If using fresh tomatoes, use a food processor to crush them or if using a can, open the can and set aside as well.
- Start heating up the Dutch oven in medium heat. In the meantime, season the beef shanks thoroughly with sea salt and black pepper on both sides. Then dredge the beef shanks in all purpose flour and make sure all sides are coated.
- Add 2 tbsps of olive oil to Dutch oven. When oil is hot, add the beef shanks, use tongs for better access. Let the beef shanks sear until golden brown on one side and using the tongs, flip them to sear on the other side as well. Once seared on all sides, remove the beef shanks and place them on a plate and cover them.
- Add the remaining 2 tbsps of olive oil to Dutch oven. Add chopped onions and minced garlic. Saute until translucent. Add carrots and celery to pot as well. Use a wooden spoon to stir occasionally to vegetables don't stick to bottom of pot.
- Add red wine and let it evaporate for a minute or two, stir to deglaze. Add broth and crushed tomatoes.
- Transfer the beef shanks back into the pot. Add any liquid from the plate into the pot as well. Tie rosemary and thyme together with a kitchen twine like a small bouquet and add that to pot. Leave it in medium heat until it bubbles, then lower heat to medium-low (about 3 in a scale of 10) and cover the Dutch oven with its lid. Check occasionally that it doesn't run out of liquid, but this dish will take about 2.5-3 hrs to cook to perfection. At the end, just check that you have enough salt and pepper and adjust to add more if needed.
- Serve beef shanks with yellow saffron rice, polenta, mashed potatoes or orzo. Of course a glass of wine goes really well with this meal as well. Enjoy:))
- You can add Dutch Oven to the oven, covered instead of cooking over stovetop. In the oven, I’d cook at 300 degrees F for about 2.5 hrs and then check every 15 minutes or so until you get the desired tenderness.
- If doubling this recipe, please adjust liquid amounts accordingly so the dish doesn’t become dry as it cooks. Cooking time will increase some too but not double so you’ll have to monitor the beef shanks as they cook. If the Dutch oven base is not big enough, they’ll rest on top of each other which will affect how long it takes to cook.
- You can sear the beef shanks in butter instead of olive oil, in that case you’d use 2 tbsps of butter for searing. Then 2 tbsps of olive oil for sauteing the onions. However, I try to use 4 tbsps of olive oil, 2 tbsps for searing and 2 tbsps for sauteing the vegetables to keep the dish closer to the Mediterranean Diet.
Beef shanks come from cows, it’s a sectional cut of their leg area, either front or back. Because it’s meat from legs area, the meat has less fat and more muscle so it might take longer to cook. However, if cooked long and slow it will provide with a tender and delicious dish.
Cooking beef shanks takes a lot longer than most cuts of meat, but it’s totally worth it. Cooking time depends on cooking method and how much you’re cooking. Average times are as follows: stovetop about 2.5-3 hours, oven 3-4 hours, pressure cooker about 40-45 minutes, slow cooker about 6 hours.
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Additional Dinner Recipes
Feel free to check out additional dinner recipes from my blog.
- Shrimp and Polenta
- Creamy Chicken with Mushrooms and Spinach
- Stuffed Peppers
- Black Eyed Peas Soup with Pancetta
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