The trimmed neck and shoulder are your standard stewing meat. You can't really go wrong with them. The shin (fore leg) of beef is different as it is slightly sinewy and a darker red colour. It has a more beefy taste which some prefer and if cooked slightly longer, perhaps a third longer than the neck or shoulder the sinews will break down and melt into the meat. If not it can be very chewy. Have a look at the picture below and can see the sinews running through the muscles.
Shin of beef
Now we come to another part of the beef carcass called skirt. This has become so popular it's almost trending. Skirt can come from two places on the animal, either the diaphragm or a thick long muscle on the flank. It is trimmed of most of its fat and is very lean. the reason is it is so popular is because, as I often explain to my customers, the meat is very open textured and this means it will be great at taking on any flavours that you wish to add to it and will melt down quickly in a stewing environment. It makes for fantastic gravy and the skirt meat will also be great for beef curries. The French even slice it diagonally across the muscle for bavette steaks. It is also known as 'plate' in the USA.
|Skirt in chunks with the muscle in the piece (above)|
So enjoy making a warming stew on these increasingly chilly days and see you next time. Phil