Braised Beef Shin - 酱牛肉
This is a popular dish that's often served cold as an appetizer, but we also love it warm, with rice or over noodles. The pieces of tendon running through it will soften with the long marinade and simmer, but stay firm enough to hold the beef together when it’s sliced into thin pieces.
Two whole pieces of beef shin, around 700g/ 1.5 lbs apiece
1.5 inch piece of ginger, scrubbed clean
2 scallions, scrubbed clean
1 tsp salt
1 tsp whole Sichuan peppercorns
1/4 tsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
2 pieces liquorice root
1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 black cardamom, smacked with cleaver
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
1 pc cinnamon
2 litres chicken stock (bouillon, ready-made or homemade)
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
Begin by soaking the beef cold water for 30 minutes. Discard the water, then repeat once.
Pat the beef dry with paper towels, then use a skewer or pointy end of a sharp knife to poke holes all over. Use the flat side of a cleaver or large knife to smack the ginger and scallions several times. Place the ginger, scallions and rest of the marinade ingredients into a resealable freezer bag with the beef, massaging gently with your fingers to distribute. Put the bag onto a plate or bowl and refrigerate at least overnight and up to 48 hours.
When you’re ready to cook the beef, remove from the freezer bags and discard the marinade. Place into a large pot and cover completely with cold water, then bring to the boil and blanch for 1 minute. Discard the blanching liquid.
Combine all of the ingredients for the braising broth in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Slip in the beef and cover with a lid, leaving a small crack, and cook for 2 hours at a gentle simmer. Turn the heat off and allow to cool completely in the broth.
When you're ready to serve the beef, remove about 150 ml of the broth and reduce in a small saucepan by about a third. Let it cool a little. Slice the beef about 1/2 a cm thick and arrange on a plate with the reduced broth spooned over.
Store any leftovers fully covered in the braising broth - like many dishes of this nature, it’ll taste even better the next day.