Of late my life has been pretty hectic but nothing compared to that of my mother (who's blog can be found at Texas-To-Mexico) and father who spent the last few weeks packing up their lives in a foreign country to come back home to the motherland, Texas. For the last five years my father has spent the majority of his time living and working in two cities in Mexico, for three of those years my mom lived there with him. During that time they accumulated stuff, made lots of friends and traveled to see some pretty cool stuff....beginning during the latter part of April they began packing that life into boxes and crates and on Saturday they arrived home. Home being the place I've been permanently house-sitting for them (their home)....I cannot describe how happy I am to have them back here but I can say this, it feels like things are the way they are supposed to be once more, my whole family is back in one place. To welcome them home, I made a pot of Braised Beef Shanks and some roasted potatoes. A great meal that took most of the afternoon to cook but very little active attention on my part (even better when preparing for someone to arrive!).
Red Wine Braised Beef Shanks
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup flour
4 beef shanks, about 6 ounces each
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
Salt and black pepper
2 cups medium diced onions
1 cup medium diced celery
1 cup medium diced carrots
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 cups red wine
3 cups beef stock
1. In a large stock pot or braising pot, add the olive oil. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Season the flour with pepper, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne. Dredge the shanks in the seasoned flour, coating each side completely.
2. When the oil is hot, sear the shanks for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until very brown on all sides. Remove the shanks and set aside.
3. Add the onions to the pan and saute for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the celery and carrots and continue to saute for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook for 1 minute.
5. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping the bottom and sides to loosen the browned particles. Add the stock. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
6. Add the shanks and continue to cook for about 2 hours, basting the shanks often, or until the sauce is stew-like and the meat starts to fall of the bone. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
The last of my welcome home meal was a delicious berry cobbler...not something I make all that often, unfortunately until the parents came home the majority of my audience was my little sis who hates "hot, smooshy fruit" -- yea that means cobblers, pies and crumbles would be left entirely for me or anyone else who happened to come by the house so I didn't make the much, too much temptation for me! However, with two other "hot, smooshy fruit" eaters in the house I was able to make this cobbler that didn't last long!
2 Lbs Mixed Berries (I used raspberries, strawberries and blueberries)
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Sugar
Cinnamon & Sugar
1 1/4 Cups Flour
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Crisco
1 Well Beaten Egg
1. Mix filling ingredients in a greased baking pan (13x9), let sit until the berries begin to produce their own juices.
2. For crust, mix salt and flour together. Then cut crisco into the mix and slowly add egg until mixture forms a dough.
3. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch on a well floured surface. Once it is desired thickness, place over the top of the berry mix.
4. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over crust.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 F for 40-45 minutes.
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