Brixton Recipes: Beef Shanks in Red Wine

Beef shanks in bowl

Amy Franklin turns beef shanks in red wine in a meltingly tender stew that you can leave to cook while you get on with enjoying your weekend.

I couldn’t resist these enormous beef shanks on a wander through the market, so grabbed some cheap red wine, potatoes and veg to throw together into a rich, slow-cooked stew perfect for a cold Sunday. The shanks are big slabs of beef surrounding a section of the leg bone with all the lovely marrow still in. They came from AM Butchers on Atlantic Road.

The shanks are from the top of the leg of the cow and work quite hard, meaning the muscle is strong and the meat is tough if you cook it quickly. But given a few hours on a low heat it fall to pieces and the fat from the marrow will melt and create a rich, delicious sauce.
This is perfect with some creamy mash and robust veg like cavolo nero. Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge and are almost better the next day.

Serves 2 generously with some leftovers:

  • 1 beef shank (about 700g including the bone)
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 stick celer, sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 red onion, cubed
  • 1 bottle cheapish red wine
  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Few sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 70 degrees. Season the flour generously and dust the outside of the shank with it. Heat some oil in a frying pan until very hot and brown the meat for 5 minutes on each side until there’s a really good crust. I’m such a fiddler I have to force myself to leave things alone in this situation, but it’s worth it – it won’t crust as well otherwise and that’s what gives it a great flavour.

Once the meat is browned, take it out and put in a casserole dish. Add the carrots, onion, garlic, celery, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves to the pan and fry gently until the onions are soft and slightly browned, then add the wine and stock. Let it bubble away for 15 minutes or so until it’s reduced slightly then add to the casserole dish with the beef.
Cover it all and put in the low oven for 6-8 hours, or until the sauce is rich and the meat soft and falling apart. Serve with mash and whichever veg you like. You could halve the amount of liquid and use a slow cooker instead.


  1. Nice balanced dish served with all these sides vegetables! I sometimes cook beef with red wine but always let marinate beef in wine. I’m curious to know if to cook it your way will change the final result of not!

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