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Dario Cecchini's marrow-braised beef

Dario Cecchini's marrow-braised beef
Los Angeles Times

"Have you seen the rules?" the most famous butcher in Italy asks, his clear blue eyes twinkling. "They're terrible!" he roars, "like Guantanamo!" We're in Antica Macelleria Cecchini, his centuries-old marble butcher shop in Panzano, a village in the heart ... Read more

Total time: 30 minutes, plus 3 hours braising time | Serves 8
  • Beef shank (about 5 pounds including bone)
  • Marrow from shank
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds shallots, peeled
  • 1 cup beef stock or good quality frozen beef broth
  • 1/2 cup vin santo

Step 1Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Season both sides of the beef with 2 teaspoons salt and one-half teaspoon black pepper. On a cutting board, lay open the boned meat with the fat side down. Place the marrow in the center of the opened meat, along the same direction as the grain. Sprinkle one-quarter teaspoon salt, one-quarter teaspoon black pepper and the chopped rosemary over the marrow. Roll the meat tightly, enclosing the marrow, and tie the roast with butcher string.

Step 2In a large ovenproof casserole, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Sear the tied beef on all sides until well-browned, about 12 minutes.

Step 3Remove the beef from the pan and set aside. Add the peeled shallots to the pan and cook over medium heat until they begin to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high and stir in the beef stock or broth to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan.

Step 4Return the beef to the pan. Cover it and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Add the vin santo and cook for another 1 1/2 hours. Baste the roast a few times during cooking. Remove the beef and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Cut the strings, slice across the grain and spoon the shallots and sauce over it.

Note: Adapted from Dario Cecchini's recipe. Have the butcher remove the bone from the beef and cut the bone in half lengthwise, and trim excess fat and remove blood vessels and ligaments from the meat. It's helpful too to have the butcher flatten the meat slightly with a mallet to make it easier to roll. From the split bone, you can easily scoop out the marrow from each side with a small metal spatula.

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