Pot Roast Shin of Beef

Puchero de Jarretes de Vaca Asados

When my friend Moncho Vilas, of the Restaurante Casa Vilas in Santiago, told me about this dish I felt it had little chance of tasting good. But despite its short list of unprepossessing ingredients, it turned out to be a very fine dish indeed, not dissimiliar to the kind of estouffades or stews favoured by the French cowboys in the Camargue.

The secret of the dish is to brown the meat fiercely on all sides, to brown the onions so that they are quite caramelised, and to cook until the meat is very tender.

We served this dish to the President of Galicia as well as Salmon with Clams and he pronounced it extremely good. We washed it down with an interesting Galician red wine called Rectoral de Amandi, 1989.


  • 900g (2lb) shin of beef, in one piece Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 300ml (½ pint) dry white wine
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 onions, sliced (yes, the Spanish do like their onions)


Trim the fat from the shin of beef (Moncho left it on the outside, but I prefer to trim it off). Season with salt and pepper and marinate it in the white wine and garlic for at least 8 hours — overnight would be better. Turn the meat from time to time, but don’t bother getting up in the middle of the night to do this.

Next, heat the oil in a pan so that it is all but smoking. Take the meat out of the marinade (save this for later) and plop it into the cooking pot, searing it well to brown on all sides. Keep the heat high to do this. Transfer the meat to a heavy casserole dish. Now brown the onions in the same oil as the beef, and when they’re done tip them into the casserole with any oil left in the pan.

Pour over the marinade, pop on the lid and cook in a preheated oven, 160°C/325°F (gas mark 3), until the meat is truly tender, approximately 1½ hours. This would be good served with Potatoes with Paprika.