I started cooking with other cuts of meat like this when we opened Marlow & Daughters butcher shop in an effort to become more knowledgeable about how to use them at home. These cuts of meat are really exceptional; they may take a little coaxing but have great flavor and nutritional value and provide the opportunity to taste beef in a way that isn’t just about a steak or a hamburger. I like serving meat in this way, as a small flavor-building element rather than a big hunk on a plate. It’s also economical — a little goes a long way.
Beef shin in particular gives a great beefy essence to this soup. Be patient and leave yourself plenty of time to make this soup — the beef shank will take many hours to cook.
- 1 meaty, 3- to 4-inch crosscut beef shank
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 3 carrots
- 2 leeks
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, stems reserved
- 1 cup farro
- 4 red radishes, thinly sliced
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- Season the beef shank well with salt and pepper and let it sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature or up to overnight, covered in the refrigerator, if you have the time and foresight.
- In a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the beef shank and sear until nicely browned on all sides, about 15 minutes total. Remove it from the pot, discard the oil, and return the shank to the pot. Add enough water to reach about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the shank.
- Cut 1 carrot and 1 whole leek in half lengthwise and add to the pot, along with the stems from the parsley. Cover the pot, bring to a simmer, and cook the beef shank until tender, about 4 hours. Check on it periodically, adding water as necessary if it gets too low. Once the beef shank is cooked, you can hold it in the refrigerator and make the soup the next day.
- Otherwise, toward the end of the cooking time, bring a saucepan three-quarters full of well-salted water to a boil. Add the farro and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the farro and toss with a little olive oil. Set aside. Slice the remaining 2 carrots and 1 leek thinly on the diagonal (bias).
- When the meat is tender, remove from the heat and let cool slightly, then remove the meat from the bone and pull or slice it into bite-size pieces. Put the meat back in the broth and add the sliced carrots, leeks, and radishes. Place over medium-low heat and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Taste and season the broth with salt. Add the farro and scallions and cook just to warm through. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the parsley leaves and a grind of black pepper. Serve hot.
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