Beef shin ragu

As a cut, it’s one of the cheapest to buy, as it takes a while to cook, but if you have the patience, you’ll be rewarded with the most buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Anchovies are often caught in shoals off the Cornish coast. Their tiny fillets break down when cooked, offering hidden umami back notes. They are the magic ingredient in this ragu.

beef shin ragu
Susan Bell


450g trimmed beef shin 1 tbsp olive oil
40g butter, plus an extra knob of butter
2 carrots, grated
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, crushed 2 bay leaves
3 anchovy fillets (fresh or tinned)
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 rosemary sprig
250ml red wine
500ml beef stock
400g pappardelle pasta
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper shaved Parmesan, to serve

zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 garlic cloves, chopped
a large handful of flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
2 anchovy fillets (fresh or tinned)

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) gas mark 4. Rub the beef shin with the olive oil and season it. Heat a flameproof casserole on the hob. Add the beef and cook for 3–4 minutes on each side, until browned. Lift out and put to one side.
2. Take off the heat and, while the pan is still warm, add the 40g butter and leave it to melt, then add the carrots, celery and onions. Put back over a low heat and cook gently for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and bay leaves, and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Now add the anchovies and tomato purée. Stir in and cook for another 1 minute.
3. Add the rosemary sprig and the wine. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer to cook off the alcohol and release the rosemary oil. Pour in the stock and carefully add the beef shin, pouring in the resting juices. Bring to the boil, then cover the casserole and cook in the oven for 3½ hours or until tender, reducing the temperature to 160°C (140°C fan oven) gas mark 3 after 1 hour.
4. When the ragu is nearly cooked, start making the gremolata. Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and season with pepper, then give it a couple of whizzes to roughly cut and blend together. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
5. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions until al dente. Drain and add the knob of butter. Once the beef shin is cooked, carefully lift it out. Discard the bay leaves and rosemary.
6. Using two forks, shred the succulent meat and return it to the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve spooned over the buttered pappardelle with the gremolata drizzled over and topped with a few shavings of Parmesan.

Recipe from The Hidden Hut by Simon Stallard, HarperCollins, £20