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Braised Beef Shank in Sichuan Dressing

Make the most of a cheaper beef cut with beautifully slow braised beef shack in Sichuan dressing. The sauce is nutty from sesame oil with a kick of chilli oil.

Introduction

This is one of those dishes where beef shank, a cheap cut of meat that is full of muscle, is transformed into an elegant, tasty dish. I cook it slowly for hours until tender in a rich braising liquid. Once cooked, it is left to cool and then sliced, dressed and garnished. This makes a great cold starter, perfect for entertaining as it can be made hours ahead.

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Ingredients

300g (11oz) piece of braising beef (shank or shin)
For the braising sauce:
500ml (17fl oz) water
2.5cm (1in) piece fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
3 pieces of dried tangerine peel
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp light soy sauce
20g (¾ oz) Chinese rock sugar (or 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar)
3 tsp caster sugar
½ tsp sea salt
For the Sichuan dressing:
2 tsp chilli oil
¼ tsp toasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns
1 tbsp Chinese clear (plain) rice vinegar (or cider vinegar)
2 tbsp braising liquid
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
For the garnish:
toasted white sesame seeds
1 spring onion, finely chopped

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Method

Slicing along the grain, cut the beef into four rectangular chunks. Blanch it in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes and remove any scum. Rinse the beef, place it in a pot with all the ingredients for the braising sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer on a low heat for 3 hours until the beef is tender and juicy. Remove and leave to cool, then keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the braising liquid for the dressing. (You can combine the remainder with stock to make a delicious broth for soup noodles.)

Combine all the ingredients for the Sichuan dressing in a bowl and put to one side.

To serve, shred the beef and place on a serving plate. Drizzle with the Sichuan dressing, then sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and spring onion on top and serve immediately.

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