Enter (the Year) of the Dragon

I sometimes like to think of myself as a bit of an anomaly. Half Chinese, don’t speak Cantonese or and not really raised with Chinese traditions. I even get given a knife and fork when I go to my parents favourite Chinese restaurant when I start speaking English and if my Dad isn’t there. I also am as Yorkshire as whippets and flat caps so go figure!

However, I’ve always acknowledged Chinese New Year in some form or another and although it’s never a full on celebration I like to give a nod to my ancestry! In addition, food wise I never really make anything that’s inspired by Chinese flavours – the odd recipe here and there, but this is something I want to rectify.

I made this Chinese inspired shin of beef stew at the end of a busy weekend and it’s a quick and easy prep wise – just sear the beef and then chuck everything else in and leave in the oven for about 3-4 hours. Easy. It’s based on Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s shin stew with ginger soy and chilli but I tweaked it based on what I had in stock – essentially creating these flavours using some very British ingredients.

I can only describe the flavours as intensely meaty, spicy and just a hint of sweetness. With flavours this big all it needs are some plain noodles and some steamed greens, I used pak choi but kale or chard would work well too.

Chinese Inspired Shin of Beef Stew

1kg beef shin, sliced into inch thick rounds – do not chop into small pieces
Oil for frying, I used olive
1 large thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and
4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
2 red chillies, kept whole but pierced
2 tablespoons of redcurrant jelly
300ml cider
150ml soy sauce (used half dark, half light to give a deeper flavour)
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 120°C. Pop a large casserole type pan on the heat and add some oil. Season the meat and brown in the pan – this may have to be done in batches. Remove the meat and set to one side.

Add the ginger and garlic and sweat down for a few minutes until soft. Throw in the chillies and then add the redcurrant jelly, vinegar, sugar and the soy sauce. Add the meat back into the pan and then pour in the cider.

Cover with a lid and then pop in the oven for 3-4 hours until the meat is completely tender but not falling to bits. You can discard the chillies at this stage.

Serve with noodles and greens, and a few spoonfuls of sauce. Sprinkle with fresh red chilli and spring onion.

Any leftover meat is delicious shredded and used in a sandwich with lettuce, cucumber sweet chilli sauce – just ask the Husband!

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