Of the muscle meats, the shanks — the lower part of the leg of usually a cow, pig or lamb — is my favorite. Besides being full of connective tissue — we want this for digestive health! — when cooked with enough time and patience, it becomes tender and full of flavor. Delicious!

It is even better with the bone — this is what Italians call osso bucco. The marrow inside the bone is a true super food and it lends incredible flavor and texture to the stew. Besides, this is a pretty inexpensive cut. What else do you need? After you eat this, you will start thinking that steak is really overrated (I think so).

You can braise with any liquid you have around — water, stock, vinegar, wine, beer, or a combination. I had some really good cider in my fridge, so I thought why not?! I’m sure it’ll work just fine. The result was far beyond fine. I polished it off as if someone was going to steal it from me ;-).

This recipe is especially good for people on GAPS who need to eat more carbohydrates.


Cider Braised Beef Shanks


15 min


3 hours, largely unattended

Serves: 2-3 servings


2 bone-in beef shanks (1.5 to 2 lbs) 4 cups apple cider 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 inch ginger, minced 1 onion, chopped Several sprigs of parsley 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes 3 bay leaves 1/2 cabbage, chopped 3 cups chopped carrots Salt and pepper to taste Lard, or another healthful animal fat to saute High quality mustard to serve


1. Salt and pepper the shanks. In a heavy-bottom pan — a dutch oven, if you have it, is the best — add sufficient fat to sear the shanks in batches (you can skip the browning, if you are in the beginning stages of GAPS). 2. Once the meat is done, deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of apple cider and scrape up all the brown bits. Add onion, garlic, ginger  chili flakes and salt. Saute until soft. 3. Add the meat back into the pan and cover with cider — you can add beef stock if you want. Since I had the bones with marrow, I didn’t find it necessary. You can also add some water if the cider is not enough. — Add bay leaves and parsley sprigs. Cover the pan and braise in low heat for at least 2 hours. The meat falls off the bone and the marrow melts into the stew when done. 4. Take the meat and bones out. Check the bones for any marrow that might still be there and put that back into the stew. Add carrots and cabbage and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. 5. At this point you have two choices. You can simply put the meat back into the stew, warm it up thoroughly and serve. Or you can blend about 1/4 of the stew, mix it back with the rest of the stew and let it simmer for 15 minutes before warming up the meat. This results on a stew with more body, in the absence of a thickening agent. 6. Serve with mustard on the side. This one paired incredibly well

About Andrea

I am a health concierge of sorts — a combination of nutritionist, coach, teacher and chef. I vet GOOD science from nutrition and health sources I trust and translate it into a customized daily practice for you. Think of me as a project manager. The project? YOUR health recovery.