Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Beef Shank Gumbo

A key ingredient to gumbo is the roux - a mixture or flour and oil that gives gumbo its thick saucy texture.  Traditionally the oil and flour are lightly whisked together over medium heat until the roux is formed and turns into a dark chocolate color.  That process could take 30-40 minutes of wrist aching whisking.  However, for this recipe I used a shortcut method of baking the roux to a milk chocolate color and then whisking it over medium heat on the stove top for approximately 8-10 minutes to get to that dark chocolate color.  This method also frees my hands to work on other things while the roux bakes.

In this gumbo recipe, beef shank and chorizo are braised in beef broth with onions, garlic, okra and creole spices to create a fall-off-the-bone delicious beefy gumbo.  Serve it with a side of steamed rice.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hours
Special Tools: Large Dutch Oven or Cast Iron Pot


2 Tablespoons Canola Oil (divided)
1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 lb. Beef Shank
1 Chorizo del Bilbao sliced into coins
1 Large Yellow Onion chopped
3 Garlic Cloves minced
3 Celery Stalks chopped
10 Okras cut into thick coins
6 Scallions finely chopped
1 Teaspoon Oregano dried
1 Teaspoon Thyme dried
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
4 Cups Beef Broth

Set the oven racks with one at the bottom row and the other at the top row. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In an oven safe skillet place 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium heat on the stove top.  Add the flour to the oil and lightly whisk the ingredients together until the flour begins to clump and turn slightly brown (about 2 minutes).   Transfer the skillet into the oven to bake for 30 minutes.

While the roux bakes in the oven, season the beef shank with salt.  Place the remaining tablespoon of canola oil over high heat in a large dutch oven.   Add the beef shank to the hot oil and sear all sides to a nice dark brown color ( about 3-4 minutes on each side - 8 to10 minutes total).   Transfer the beef shank to a plate and set aside.  Add the slices of chorizo del Bilbao to hot oil and sauté to brown the meat and render the fat (about 3-4 minutes). Transfer the chorizo to the plate with the beef shank and set aside.  Remove the dutch oven from the heat.

After the roux has baked for 30 minutes transfer the skillet from the oven (keep the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit) to the stove top and place it over high heat.  By now the roux should be a milk chocolate color.  Lightly whisk the roux over high heat until it is a dark chocolate color (about 8-10 minutes).  Transfer the roux into the dutch oven with the drippings from the meat.

Place the dutch oven over high heat.  Add the onions to the roux and sauté until soft (about 5 minutes).  Add the garlic, celery, the okra and 3/4 of the scallions to the pot and sauté for another 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the combined spices of oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, freshly ground pepper and red chili flakes to the pot and sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute).  Pour in the beef broth and give the ingredients a good stir to combine.  Add the beef shank and chorizo to the pot and bring the ingredients to a boil.  Cover the pot and transfer it into the oven to braise for 2 hours.

Transfer the dutch oven to the stove top and place it over medium high heat to simmer uncovered for 15 minutes to thicken the sauce.

Serve this dish in large bowls with a scoop of steamed white rice.  Enjoy.

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