This is smart enough to make for a dinner party. I serve it with mustard mash and a green vegetable. Shin of beef has an excellent flavour but needs slow cooking – for an alternative, look for braising steak.
50g plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2kg shin of beef, cut into 2.5cm chunks and trimmed of excess fat
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 small shallots, peeled and kept whole
6 celery sticks, roughly sliced
8 carrots, roughly chopped
25g dried porcini mushrooms
600ml red wine or stout
300ml beef stock
6 sprigs of thyme
450g button mushrooms
2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
Step 1 Place the flour in a bowl or in a plastic bag with plenty of salt and black pepper and toss the meat in it until well coated.
Step 2 Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole and add the beef. Fry until browned on all sides. You may need to do this in batches as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan; it is important to just brown the beef and not stew it. Remove the meat from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the shallots, celery and carrots to the pan and fry for 5 minutes until softened a little.
Step 3 Meanwhile, soak the dried mushrooms in 300ml boiling water until softened, then chop into smaller pieces, reserving the soaking liquid.
Step 4 Return the meat to the pan and add the red wine or stout. Bring to the boil and bubble for 4-5 minutes, until reduced by about a third, then add the stock, the soaked mushrooms and their soaking liquid and the thyme. Bring back to the boil then cover and simmer on a low heat for about 2. hours or until tender. If preferred, you can place the dish in a preheated oven at 150C/130C fan/gas 2 to cook for the same amount of time.
Step 5 Add the button mushrooms to the casserole with the redcurrant jelly and continue to cook for a further 30 minutes or until the meat is meltingly tender.
PREPARE AHEAD This can be cooked the day before, chilled in the fridge and reheated.
TIPS If you want to thicken the sauce further, mix 1 tablespoon of plain flour with 2-3 tablespoons of cold water to make a thin paste, and add gradually to the boiling sauce until thickened to your liking. To help get the skins off the shallots, soak in boiling water before peeling. This can be frozen for up to 3 months: cool completely then freeze. Defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat thoroughly.
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