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Recipe of the season winter 2018

Shin in red wine 

This is a great autumn or winter warming stew.  Whether you use a slow cooker, hob or oven be sure to cook it low and slow and you will be rewarded with succulent meat with a real depth of flavour, and a gravy with a silky smooth texture.  The difference between shin and other stewing cuts is that it is full of connective tissue which renders down to make the best gravy, but it does need time.  Cook with the bones  if you can, to get all that marrow bone goodness, don't be put off if the meat contains large pieces of bone, you can always remove this before serving.  The star anise gives a hint of mulled wine type flavours - don’t put it in too early other wise it might taste a bit too festive!


serves 6



  • Pasture for Life beef shin, bone in slices, 2kg

  • Large white onions 2

  • Half a bottle of red wine (approx)

  • 3 table spoons of flour

  • A big squeeze of tomato puree

  • 3 bay leaves

  • Star anise 

  • 3 large carrots

  • Water

  • Salt and Pepper



Slice and chop the onions and cook until golden in a frying pan with some oil.

Put to one side then on a fairly hot heat brown the shin (no need to flour see below).

Deglaze the pan with some red wine and add the onions and beef to the slow cooker / lidded hob to oven type dish.

Pour a glass of wine into a measuring jug and whisk in the flour until smooth, add this and the rest of the wine to the slow cooker (a tip I borrowed from Mary Berry, a lot easier than flouring meat).

Squeeze in the tomato puree, add the bay leaves, salt and pepper,  and add water until the meat is just covered.

Cook for 6 hours plus.  6 hours in the slow cooker on high, or 8 to 10 on medium.  Or on the hob very gently (the odd bubble just breaking the surface) for 6 hours plus.

One hour before serving add 2 star anise. 

15 minutes before serving add cubed carrots to add some crunch and colour.  

Carefully spoon off any excess clear fat on the top of the stew.  There will be some un rendered connective tissue so either remove this before serving or let your guests sort this out.

Serve with crusty bread or dumplings and a dollop of good quality horse radish sauce

A note about this recipe

This is a recipe I genuinely cook for my family.  I haven't just lifted it off the internet or typed it out from a book.    I've cooked it many many times.  It's evolved from cooking stews based on the River Cottage Meat book, John Tourodes Beef book and Mary Berry.  And the picture above genuinely was my dinner, no short cuts here!

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