Braised Beef With Garlic Mashed Potatoes

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I just found this recipe typed up in the drafts section from almost a month ago. Yikes. Things have been quiet here (even more so on Bread is Pain) because attentions have been elsewhere and I’ve been sick. November is National Novel Writing Month so don’t expect a lot of me then either, unless I get particularly ambitious (or need a productive-sounding outlet as a procrastination device).

In the meantime, enjoy all the wonderful root vegetables and squashes and slow-braised dishes like this one, that just seem so out of place until the weather starts to cool off (and cool off it certainly has).


  • 4 pounds beef shanks, chuck or shoulder roast, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 3-4 cups beef stock
  • 8 small shallots or pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 pound beef or veal marrow bones, cleaned
  • 6 sprigs of rosemary
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds starchy potatoes, peeled
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup milk


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pat the beef dry, season it with salt and pepper, and dredge it with flour, patting off any excess.

Heat the oil in a dutch oven or large pot that you can place in the oven over medium heat. Brown the beef in batches, removing to a plate when finished.

Add the onion (sliced) and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to a temperature where the onions can be left relatively unattended without scorching. Stirring occasionally, cook them until deeply caramelized, taking on a sweet aroma and brown hue. This will take a while, so be patient.

Once the onions have caramelized, add the carrot and celery and sweat until softened, then return the beef to the pot and cover with tomatoes and enough stock to come halfway up the beef.

Bring the liquid just to a boil, then remove from the heat and add the shallots, bones, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf.

Cover and cook until the meat is tender, about 2-3 hours, then remove from the oven.

Remove the herbs and discard. Transfer the meat and shallots to a plate to keep warm. Drain the remaining liquid and deserve, discarding the solids.

Chill the liquid in the freezer momentarily so that the fat solidifies, then skim it off with a spoon, reserving it to make the sauce.

Heat approximately two tablespoons of the fat in a saucepan over medium heat. Add to this two tablespoons of all-purpose flour (you can use the leftover flour from dusting the beef if you like) and stir, cooking for a minute. Whisk in the liquid and cook until thickened, adding more stock to dilute if too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the potatoes, place whole potatoes in salted cold water and bring to a boil. Continue boiling until fork tender, then drain.

Melt butter in the dry, empty pot over medium heat. Once foaming subsides, add the garlic, saute for a minute, then add the milk.

Bring milk just to a boil, re-add the potatoes and mash to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with prepared beef and sauce.

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