Braised Beef Shank (see recipe below)
by Chef Christina Sheardown, photography by Clay Dolan
At Sheardown’s in Meaford, Chef Christina Sheardown merges culinary excellence with a commitment to seasonal local cuisine. With a career that spans from prestigious banquet halls to intimate fine dining establishmaents, Christina’s dedication to crafting dishes from scratch ensures a menu that reads like an ode to the region’s flavours and farmers.
WARM MUSHROOM SALAD
This delightful warm salad embodies the simplicity and comforting flavours of the season. Featuring a harmonious blend of mushrooms and toasted walnuts, this dish is both and exquisitely satisfying and effortlessly quick, taking only 10 minutes to prepare and an additional 12 minutes to cook.
2 cups assorted mushrooms (we love mushrooms from Grandview Farms in Thornbury)
1 tsp garlic chopped
1 tsp chopped either sage or rosemary, whichever your preference is.
2 tbsp Freshwater Distillery Darkwater gin or substitute mushroom stock
2 cups baby arugula
½ cup goat cheese
½ white onion, sliced as thinly as possible
1 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp chopped walnut, lightly toasted
1. If your mushrooms vary in size and you want to maintain their shape, start by sautéing the larger mushrooms first, adding the smaller ones later.
2. While sautéing, pre-toast the walnuts for garnishing. Simply preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes.
3. Heat your pan and add oil. Sauté the onion for about two minutes until it softens, then add garlic. Let the garlic cook for a couple more minutes before adding the gin (be cautious with an open flame, as the gin might briefly ignite).
4. Add the mushrooms and cook until they soften, then season the mixture evenly with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.
5 . Lightly toss the arugula in the pan a couple of times. Add the goat cheese and give it a few more tosses. The key is to sauté the arugula gently, ensuring it doesn’t overcook.
6. Transfer to a plate and generously sprinkle with the toasted walnuts.
BRAISED BEEF SHANK
This hearty winter entrée takes about 1-2 hours to cook, but most of that time is hands-off. In reality, you’ll spend only around 20 minutes prepping and actively cooking. This recipe serves 2 people generously—if you need more servings or leftovers, simply double or triple the ingredients. Just keep in mind scaling up might mean searing the meat in batches and adding an extra hour or so to cook thoroughly.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ onion, sliced
2 tbsp garlic clove, chopped
½ lb (250g) bone-in beef shanks (sourced from Good family Farm in Meaford)
½ cup crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp chopped rosemary and thyme
3 cups beef stock
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup red wine (optional)
2 cups root vegetables chopped up into 1-inch cubes (such as sweet potato, parsnip, beet, carrot, celeriac root)
1 cup chopped potatoes (mini red, mini white or fingerling—simply cut larger potatoes in half and keep the smaller intact)
STEP 1: SEAR
1. Heat a deep pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add canola oil.
2. Once hot, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until they turn transparent. Then, add the chopped garlic and cook for approximately 3 more minutes until caramelized.
3. Season the beef shank all over with salt and pepper (aiming for a 90% salt to 10% black pepper ratio). Add the beef shanks to the pot and brown them on both sides.
4. Add the chopped root vegetables and potatoes. Stir until coated in the oil and onion-garlic mix; they don’t need to be fully cooked here as they’ll slow-cook with the dish.
5. Prepare to add the wet ingredients: beef stock, tomato, Worcestershire sauce, and chopped herbs. Taste the broth and adjust seasoning if needed with an extra tablespoon of salt and pepper, depending on the broth used.
STEP 2: BRAISE
1. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat for 1 to 1.5 hours or until the meat is fork-tender. Vegetables will also be tender at this point.
2. Occasionally check for enough liquid to prevent sticking; if needed, add more beef stock and shift the beef shanks to prevent burning. Alternatively, you can use a slow cooker or Crockpot for this preparation.
APPLE WHISKEY BREAD PUDDING
This delectable dessert wwewencapsulates the warmth of home-baked goodness. With just a handful of ingredients, including fresh local apples, and a hint of cinnamon, this recipe promises a delightful fusion of textures and flavours. Topped with a luscious Whiskey Caramel Sauce, created by infusing butter, brown sugar, and a touch of whiskey, each spoonful offers a harmonious blend of softness and caramelized sweetness.
6 slices stale bread (equal to approximately 4-5 cups of broken bread pieces or cubes)
3 tbsp butter
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
¾ cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped apple, (we prefer Cortland or gala from Meaford)
¼ cup raisins (optional)
Pinch of salt if not using salted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter.
2. Place larger pieces of bread (avoid crumbling it) into the buttered baking dish. Add chopped apple and, if using, raisins to the bread. Gently mix to combine, then coat with the melted three tablespoons of butter.
3. In a separate bowl, thoroughly mix the remaining ingredients (remember to beat the eggs first) until well combined.
4. Pour this mixture over the bread, ensuring every piece is evenly coated. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until the top of the bread pudding springs back lightly when touched with a fork.
WHISKEY CARAMEL SAUCE
4 tbsp butter salted (but unsalted is ok too, just add a pinch of salt)
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp whiskey
1. Get a small saucepan and melt 3 tablespoons of salted butter over high heat.
2. Once melted, reduce the heat to medium and let the butter brown slightly. Add the brown sugar, ensuring it fully mixes into the melted butter.
3. If you’re flambéing or adding whiskey, do so now. If flames occur, let them burn out naturally; don’t worry, but avoid leaning in too close.
4. Stir the mixture well and remove it from the heat. Let it sit for about 1-2 minutes, then use a whisk to thoroughly blend the brown sugar and butter. Pour this over the cooked bread pudding.
5. The brown sugar will crystallize, adding a delightful crunch to complement the soft texture of the bread pudding perfectly.