Braised beef shanks: succulent, savory and irresistible. Add creamy polenta and you've got a meal that can't be beat.
The sky rests, its grey casting a cooling light over the ground of a winter day. Ever so slowly, it begins, the snowflakes cascading down to earth. They are sparse at first, their crystalline shapes drifting with the wind as they fall in an enchanting ballet.
Sometime between the first afternoon dusting and sunset, the flakes grow in size to diminutive snowballs, taking on speed and heft in their descent. Now instead of dancing around, they are simply plummeting towards the ground, covering everything in a blanket of white.
The morning snow blocks out all else, dampening sounds and causing the world to stay in bed just a few minutes longer, under cover of warm blankets. Schools are canceled, and the children squeal with glee before donning puffy pants and coats, enormous boots and padded mittens, their caps pulled tight down over their ears and heading out into the white expanse that was once the backyard.
On these days for staying in, of refusing to venture out into the slush that inevitably follows a good snowfall, it's best to warm the house and create a little warm escape from the outside world in the most natural way possible: turning on the oven.
Let's talk braising. Braising is the method of cooking a tough piece of meat to make it fall-off-the-bone tender. It is not necessary for this meat to have a bone, but it often does. Sometimes it does. In this case it does.
This means that we do need to set aside the time to allow the beef to cook, but the good part about this dish is that it warms your house and the smells of roasting waft through every room, can be made a few days in advance and easily reheated with excellent results for an on-the-go meal, and it is pure comfort food delight. Add a quick sautéed Brussels sprouts to the mix or a fresh green salad and you have a complete meal. Go over the top and add some garlic and cheese biscuits.
Disclosure: The views and opinions expressed by contributors on Food Fanatic are based entirely upon the contributor's experiences with Le Creuset products. Neither the contributor nor Food Fanatic was compensated monetarily by the brand for this post, but the contributor did receive the items listed for review.
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