Beer-Battered Braised Curry Beef Shanks with a Harissa Dipping Sauce

Finger foods are perhaps the most popular kinds of food at any large gathering I throw. They are easily put together, easily accessible by your guests and tend to leave behind the least amount of mess when being eaten. I find constructing menus involving finger foods to be fun because it allows me to inject a large amount of culinary variety, keeping things fresh for me in the kitchen and for my guests.

During a recent trip to the grocery store, I came across something I had never “seen” before. I’m quite familiar with beef shanks. This, however, was the first time I saw them available without the bone. The gears in my head never turned so quickly as I stood over the boneless cut of meat. Before I could blink, the shanks were in my basket and I was on my way home to give them the royal treatment. The result is this recipe I share with you today.

Beer-Battered Braised Curry Beef Shanks are a total do-ahead party delicacy that no one would expect to encounter at your next gathering. These savory bites offer the best of the braised and fried worlds with layers of flavor and a Harissa Dipping Sauce that only enhances the dish. They keep warm and crispy in a 250-degree oven without drying out. And they are addicting!

For your next gathering, treat your friends and family to something new. No one will be disappointed!

Beer-Battered Braised Beef Shanks

(recipe serving size – 20-24 pieces)

For the beef:

1 1/2 lb boneless beef shank, cut into 1-inch cubes (roughly 20-24 pieces)

1 1/2 tb olive oil plus 1 tb for searing

2 cups beef stock

2 sprigs fresh oregano

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp granulated garlic

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp sumac

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine dry spices in a small bowl. Coat beef in 1 1/2 tb of olive oil and 2 tb of spice blend. Toss until fully coated.

Heat an oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Sear pieces of beef on each side for 1 minute. Add the beef stock and sprigs of oregano to the pot along with the rest of the spice blend. Bring to a simmer and transfer pot to the oven. Bake for 2 hours or until beef is fork tender. Remove the beef from the pot and let cool.

For the dipping sauce:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Juice of 1 lemon

2 pepperoncini, finely minced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 tsp harissa

1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped

1 tsp of pepperoncini brine

1/4 tsp kosher salt

Combine ingredients, mixing with a whisk or fork to fully incorporate. Store sealed in the refrigerator until ready to use. This can be done a day ahead of time.

For the beer batter and frying:

Roughly 3 cups canola oil (depending on the size of pan – should measure to about 3/4 inch of oil)

1 beer

1 1/2 cups flour

1 egg

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp cracked black pepper

1 tsp granulated garlic

1 tsp za’tar

1 tsp smoked paprika

Lower the heat of the oven to 250 degrees.

Mix ingredients in a bowl. Once the shanks have cooled enough to handle, dredge the beef in the batter, covering each piece completely. Fry in batches, leaving enough room between the pieces to prevent them from clumping together. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Remove the finished pieces from the oil, sprinkle with salt and place in the oven on a cookie sheet to keep warm until you are ready to serve.

Bringing it all together:

Place the fried beef shanks on a serving platter along with the dipping sauce. Sprinkle curry over the pieces of beef and serve while warm.

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