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Braising, stewing or shin?

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Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Binky » Mon May 10, 2021 8:28 pm

We are not big meat eaters and were vegetarian for over 30 years, so our knowledge of meat recipes is not great.

We have a slow cooker and I fancy trying a boeuf bourguignonne but don't know what beef cut to use - braising steak, or stewing/shin beef? Please let me know your preferred choice and why.

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Stokey Sue » Mon May 10, 2021 9:04 pm

I use what may variously be described as chuck, casserole, or braising steak; I looked at an authentic French recipe and Chef Simon uses paleron, blade or feather steak which are cuts I'd use and blade is often sold as casserole steak (I'm leaning towards blade, it's got a lot of collagen which makes the gravy silky but no actual gristle)

It's a dish I've made many times, though never in a slow cooker which I'd expect to work well

Don't cut the meat too small or the texture will be odd, Elizabeth David says 2 inches square which is right if you have the steak in slices, though obviously you don't have to manage regular geometry, Chef Simon says 40-50 g pieces which again sounds about right to me

I find it's worth using a pinot noir, though not the best Cotes de Nuits, a generic supermarket pinot from Romania or Chile will be fine

Enjoy
Here's a link to Chef Simon, in French but some good photos, I have faith in Simon
https://chefsimon.com/gourmets/chef-sim ... uignon--17

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Suelle » Mon May 10, 2021 10:00 pm

I expect a real butcher will be different, but most supermarkets don't seem to distinguish between various cuts of stewing beef these days - it's just packaged as diced beef, with various percentages of fat content.
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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby ZeroCook » Mon May 10, 2021 10:46 pm

.
It depends where you are and what the cuts are called - as Suelle says, many supermarkets don't really distinguish between the cuts.
French recipes for Boeuf Bourguignon like the one Stokey posted are lean, from the leg , if you take a look at the French beef cuts - gîte, paleron ou macreuse.


Lean beef is my preference. From the leg, rather than the shoulder, which can be fattier. I look at at the fat content of chuck, braising, or stewing beef and how much connective tissue there is (more = better: good for flavour and tenderness when the gelatine breaks down during a very long cook) - I just eyeball the meat and and pick the leanest there is. Shin is lean, with most connective tissue and the tastiest. Takes a really good long cook which is what I like for the dish. The lower down the leg, the leaner and the longer it takes to cook, but the tastier IMO.

Any full red wine will work - cheap is fine. The fine notes are cooked out anyway :D




UK, US, French beef cuts


https://www.morleybutchers.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/beef_cuts_poster.jpg
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http://thumbnails.visually.netdna-cdn.com/beef-cuts_51bab1d376743.jpg
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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Earthmaiden » Mon May 10, 2021 11:51 pm

I too would use chuck, casserole, or braising steak. I was brought up to use chuck steak for better casseroles and stews and shin for when it was just us and the meat could have long, slow cooking (which, when done properly made shin melt in the mouth and delicious).

For Boeuf Bourguignon, which as Sue says, traditionally has quite large pieces of meat (which I don't like much) I'd certainly use chuck or something as good or better.

My slow cooker is quite old and I never feel cooks any meat but chicken particularly well, even if left for 12 hours or more. I think modern ones are better from how people describe their results.

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Gillthepainter » Tue May 11, 2021 8:15 am

Excellent cut information there, Odette.
I should study them a bit more later, as sometimes I'm a bit menu stumped in French restos.
Slow cooker times, no idea, but all cuts will cook till tender in there without issue.

Shin, will take you 5hrs to cook on the hob, and is intense. If you are not used to meatiness, then this might not be the cut for you.
Braising and stewing I'd say are interchangeable. 2.5hrs cooking, again on the hob - it goes from chewy to tender in the last 20mins I find.

This is Tony's favourite dish if he sees it in a brasserie.
He cannot resist.

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Suffs » Tue May 11, 2021 9:16 am

I agree with all the above ... my personal choice would be for shin because I love its unctuous gelatinous quality which it adds to the sauce, but I’m a committed carnivore ... it may not be your preference.

My biggest tip would be not to buy anything that is already cut up ... I find that all supermarkets and most butchers cut meat far too small for long slow cooking. It just breaks down into shreds. I prefer to cut up the meat myself, approx 2”x2”x2”.

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Pepper Pig » Tue May 11, 2021 9:36 am

I prefer shin too. Waitrose usually have it. They also have ox cheek quite often which is also very good indeed.

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Stokey Sue » Tue May 11, 2021 9:54 am

I like shin for many things, but this is not a generic beef stew, it’s specifically bouef bourguignon a dish not traditionally made with shin and made with Pinot noir wine

You can make a very good dish of beef in red wine with shin and wine from another grape, but it’s not a traditional bourguignon as cooked in Burgundy

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Seatallan » Tue May 11, 2021 10:50 am

I'd use braising steak for that though shin is indeed lovely.
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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Gruney2 » Tue May 11, 2021 11:21 am

I've always found that stews of any sort, done in the slow cooker, seem to be a bit "thin" - no evaporation, I suppose, with no rich sticky bits on the side of the dish. My preference would be for braising, rather than stewing steak, partly because, for my palate, it produces a more tender result, and also because it usually comes in slices, which you can cut to your own preferred size. A long and slow shin in red wine is the ultimate in beef stew for me, though.

I did have a Marco Pierre White recipe, where he used a slab of brisket, and cut it up into really large pieces - alas, I've lost it, but I do recall it being excellent.

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Stokey Sue » Tue May 11, 2021 11:31 am

I remember Ian in France exploding because MPW made a beef bourguignon on tv and used a bottle of St Emilion (the supermarkets were awash with uninspiring St Emilion at the time)

Not bouef bourguignon but boeuf bordelaise (Bordeaux beef)!

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Suffs » Tue May 11, 2021 11:49 am

I suspect that, as with most 'traditional' regional dishes the Burgundian housewife would've used whatever cut and whatever wine was suitable and available. Something is either a traditional folk recipe that has been cooked with variations by housewives over the centuries e.g. Coq au vin, Boeuf Bourginon, Irish Stew, Cawl, haggis, Lobscouse, or it is a specific dish 'invented' by a specific chef, eg Peach Melba, Pavlova, Omelette Arnold Bennett etc.

Traditional regional dishes are styles of cooking ...the only reason that we Brits think there are specific hard and fast recipes are because the first time we as a nation came across the dish it was in grand homes and later on in restaurants and it was cooked by a chef, who told us that his (usually his) was the correct way to do it. He was usually copying his mother's or grandmother's recipe (as Raymond Blanc does so often) ... but some of those chefs (who were very good as self-promotion) wrote the recipe down .. and suddenly it became the only way to cook it correctly in the UK. I don't think we'd quibble with an Irish grandmother who used middle neck rather than scrag end for her Irish Stew, any more than my mother's steak & kidney pudding was wrong and my grandmother's right because one used Beef Skirt and the other used Chuck Steak. The Welsh branch of my family make their Cawl with lamb neck and collar bacon. Families from the next valley use beef shin and bacon because the local farms kept cattle rather than sheep which were farmed 'further over'. I've been served Ribollita in two rural Tuscan homes ... both were delicious ... but very different from each other.

As far as I can see no one bothered too much about it until a grammarist, lexicographer and encylopaedist (Pierre Larousse) saw a market for another book and started creating hard and fast definitions. He wasn't a chef. And of course, we Brits do like rules because it's so nice to be able to point out that someone else is wrong. :lol:
Last edited by Suffs on Tue May 11, 2021 11:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Binky » Tue May 11, 2021 11:54 am

Cooking with St Emilion??? That would make me explode. There are plenty of decent-ish reds around £6 a bottle that will do for cooking. Using St Emilion is a sacrilege.

We have a butcher shop in the nearest town which has been in the same family and the same premises for over 200 years. I will use them in preference to a supermarket; their meat is traceable and good quality, and they also sell Sutton Hoo organic free-range chickens which we've had a couple of times during lockdown. The lady owner delivers to the door at no extra charge.

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Stokey Sue » Tue May 11, 2021 11:58 am

At the time Binky there was a surfeit of cheap rubbish St Emilion around -it was on offer in every supermarket, and it was rubbish

While I take your point about regional/peasant dishes Suffs I think this is the exception to the rule, bourguignon has been a staple of French restaurants in France for a century and a half, and I think there is an agreed standard, as there is for sauces for example. An a Burgundian housewife would use only local wine, which is distinctive

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Lusciouslush » Tue May 11, 2021 4:31 pm

Stewing steak or shin for me in a casserole/stew/curry.
Boeuf Bourguignon.....? Well if you're pedantic you would follow a classic recipe - otherwise you can call it beef in a red wine sauce ! :D

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby jeral » Tue May 11, 2021 4:40 pm

Or skip the beef and make a mixed mushroom bourguignon-style ;) dish, e.g.
https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/102 ... ourguignon

My reason for posting is actually to ask if anyone has managed to source pearl onions?

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Lusciouslush » Tue May 11, 2021 4:49 pm

Nope - haven't seen them for a few years now - you could buy them frozen but they seem to have disappeared from the planet - they were soooooooooooooooooooooooooo useful.......!

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby KeenCook2 » Tue May 11, 2021 4:52 pm

I must admit I didn't try to get them when I've made that recipe - used shallots, rightly or wrongly. I also used chestnut mushrooms ... :oops:

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Re: Braising, stewing or shin?

Postby Binky » Tue May 11, 2021 5:28 pm

jeral wrote:Or skip the beef and make a mixed mushroom bourguignon-style ;) dish, e.g.
https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/102 ... ourguignon

My reason for posting is actually to ask if anyone has managed to source pearl onions?



pearl onions - are they the same as cocktail onions?

https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/gol-ui/pro ... nions-227g

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