Throwback Thursday: Beef shin stew with gremolata

Throwback Thursday: Beef shin stew with gremolata
Tony Jackman’s beef shin stew, finished with gremolata. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

For an Italian dinner the other day, we offered this beef shin stew as a variation on Osso Buco, the traditional veal dish. We served it with creamy polenta, or ‘Italian pap’, as someone referred to it during the dinner.

This variation on osso buco, the Italian veal shin stew, uses beef shin instead but is otherwise much like the classic dish. The gremolata to serve with it, sprinkled on top, is simply very finely chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest.

Beef shin is an underrated cut, pleasingly inexpensive, full of flavour, but like brisket and short rib, it needs time and patience.

The best accompaniment for this dish, I think, is mashed potato, though creamy polenta of course would be a winning match too.


400 g beef shin in slices

Olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

2 celery sticks, diced

3 large carrots, peeled and diced

4 or 5 thyme sprigs

1 heaped Tbsp cornflour

1 glass of red wine

1.5 litres beef stock

1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes


Black pepper

For the gremolata

2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley

1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest

3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

Mashed potato finished with butter, milk or cream, salt and pepper, for serving with the stew


Prepare all the vegetables and have them ready. Chop the onion and garlic; dice the carrots and celery. Pick the leaves off  the thyme sprigs.

I used the excellent Nomu liquid beef stock (formerly called a fond), so if using that, boil a kettle and dissolve 3 Tbsp of the liquid stock in 1.5 litres of boiled water. Or use 1.5 litres of any other beef stock.

Heat olive oil in the heavy cast-iron pot and brown the beef shin slices on both sides. Remove to a side dish.

Add a little more oil and all the chopped and diced vegetables, and cook gently for five minutes, stirring now and then.

Sprinkle the cornflour over the top and stir it in. Add the thyme leaves and give it a stir.

Add the red wine and cook, stirring, for three minutes. Add the beef stock and chopped tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Put the meat back in, stir to coat, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook on a very low heat, with the lid on but leaving a small gap for vapour to escape, for about three hours.

Before it’s done and you’re ready to serve, boil some peeled potatoes, mash them and finish them with a generous amount of butter and milk or cream, seasong well with salt and mildly with black or white pepper.

Chop the trio of gremolata ingredients and sprinkle it on once served, as a garnish. Tuck in while being grateful for the rain.

Make a quantity of polenta according to the packet instructions, with masses of heavy beating with a strong wooden spoon. Add in plenty of salt, butter and grated parmesan. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed on a plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Michael Forsyth says:

    I love beef shin and, as I have commented here before, use a Wonderbag to cook it in. Bring it up to a boil and after about fifteen minutes place in the Wonderbag all day or overnight. It produces the most tender dishes and saves you a bunch of electricity.

    I look forward to you cooking with a Wonderbag one day and letting us see the result.

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