"Slow cooking is a dominant feature of northern Italian cuisine in the colder months of autumn and winter," says Anthony Musarra of Melbourne wine bar Agostino's. "In this dish, the tannins in the Barolo help to break down the richness of the wagyu. Don't rush the brasato; give it enough time to break down the shin and develop a rich, flavoursome sauce. Drink some Barolo while you wait."
Braised beef shin with charred onion
- 2.5 kg buco (about 6 thick pieces), preferably wagyu
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 2 small tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
- 6 cloves
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 750 ml Barolo or other good red wine
- 1 litre (4 cups) rich beef stock
- 6 small red onions, peeled and halved horizontally
- 250 ml (1 cup) light olive oil
- 20 garlic cloves
- 8 anchovy fillets
- 50 gm unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large radicchio, halved and cut into thin wedges
- Olive oil, for brushing
- Aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- 250 gm (1½ cups) coarse yellow, white or buckwheat polenta
- 50 gm unsalted butter
- 60 gm finely grated Grana Padano, plus extra to serve
- 1Preheat oven to 160°C. Remove bones from osso buco (reserve bone marrow for another use) and cut beef into 2 pieces each. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large casserole over medium heat. Add half the beef, season to taste, then cook until browned all over (5-7 minutes). Remove and transfer to a plate. Repeat with another 2 tbsp oil and remaining beef.
- 2Add onion and celery to pan and sauté until tender (5-10 minutes). Add tomato, cloves and herbs, and stir to combine (2 minutes). Add the wine and deglaze pan, scraping base, then simmer until liquid is reduced by half (15-20 minutes). Add stock, return to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Return beef to pan, cover with a piece of baking paper, then foil or a lid and braise in the oven until very tender (3¾-4 hours).
- 3Meanwhile, preheat a char-grill pan to high. Brush red onions with a little olive oil, then cook until edges are well charred. Transfer to an oven tray and roast until tender (30-45 minutes).
- 4For bagna cauda, place oil and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat and cook until garlic is soft (15-20 minutes). Drain over a bowl, then return garlic and 1 tbsp oil to pan (reserve remaining garlic oil for another use). Add anchovies and mash with a fork to break down (1 minute). Remove from the heat, cool briefly, then add butter and mash to a paste. Season to taste and keep warm.
- 5Remove casserole from oven, gently remove beef, then strain liquid. Return liquid to casserole over high heat and simmer until reduced by about two-thirds (30 minutes).
- 6Divide beef and charred onion among warmed plates or bowls. Spoon sauce, then some of the bagna cauda, over the meat and serve with soft polenta and grilled radicchio.
- 7Preheat oven to 160°C. Heat a char-grill pan over high heat. Brush radicchio with olive oil, season to taste, then grill, turning once, until charred and wilted (1-3 minutes each side). Place on a baking tray, drizzle with a little aged balsamic and season, then roast until tender (3-4 minutes). Serve.
- 8Bring 1 litre water mixed with 1 tbsp sea salt flakes to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Rain in polenta, whisking well, and slowly bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon right into the edges of the pan and adding a little more water as required (about 300ml, in small additions), until thick and smooth (1 hour). Stir in butter and cheese and season to taste. Serve with extra Grana Padano added to taste.
Wine suggestion 2016 Conti "Origini" Vino Rosso, Piedmont. Wine suggestion by James Tait.