Barreado, Brazilian Beef Shank Stew

Barreado is the name of a typical dish from the state of Parana, in the south of Brazil. It’s a Brazilian Beef Shank Stew and consists of meat delicately braised with bacon, onion, and spices at low temperature in a clay pot that is hermetically sealed with a starch paste made of manioc flour. The dish’s name comes from the term barrear a panela, meaning to seal the pot with this manioc paste. It’s typically served with manioc flour, banana, oranges, and pepper sauce.

Barreado
Barreado, served with banana, oranges and manioc flour.

 

I tasted barreado on a trip to the south a few years ago, more specifically in Morretes, a city in the state of Parana that claims paternity of the dish. Mention Barreado to any Brazilian in other parts of the country, and you might draw a blank. But go on to name some classic recipes from the south to anyone from the region, and chances are you’ll draw an expression of pleasure when thinking of Barreado.

 

 

Barreado Receita
Barreado from Morretes, Parana

 

There is no doubt that Barreado can be prepared with different cuts of meat such as london broil, bottom round, or rump. Tasting the authentic version in Brazil and then in the kitchen of Monica Justen, a Brazilian friend from Curitiba who loves to cook, I concluded that beef shank produces the best Barreado recipe.

All the luscious marrow of the shank is part of the appeal when cooking meat on the bone. In this recipe, the meat is cooked separately from the bone, and the two met again in a later stage in the recipe—a fascinating approach compared to other classic braised dishes like Osso Buco, Short Ribs, or Lamb Shanks, where meat and bones are cooked together.

 

Barreado Recipe
Beef Shank

 

All the luscious marrow of the shank is part of the appeal when cooking meat on the bone. In this recipe, the meat is cooked separately from the bone, and the two met again in a later stage in the recipe—a fascinating approach compared to other classic braised dishes like Osso Buco, Short Ribs, or Lamb Shanks, where meat and bones are cooked together.

 

Barreado Parana Brazil
Beef Bones

 

Speaking of Osso Buco, this dish is a great alternative at a much better value. Osso buco might run up to US$24.99 a pound depending on where you shop, while the beef shank is only US$3.99 a pound at Stew Leonards, a grocery store in Connecticut ( with a few stores in New Jersey and New York state as well). A bit less glorified in its reputation for sure, but this recipe for Barreado might have you look at beef shank in a whole different way.

Fun Fact: We don’t have the verb “to braise” in the Portuguese language. If you google the translation, you might find words like assar na panela, or estufar. I heard a few chefs in Brazil saying a word that doesn’t exist in Portuguese called “Brasear”, the Portuguese pronunciation for Braize. I think the Portuguese dictionary should add “Brasear” to our vocabulary, don’t you think?

 

Barreado

Brazilian Beef Shank Stew

Adapted from Monica Justen

 

Serves 6

 

6 bone-in beef shanks

Kosher salt ad freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 oz bacon, diced (about 4 to 5 strips)

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 medium onions, coarsely chopped

3 fresh bay leaves

Freshly ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons tomato paste

 

Side dish:

2 cups manioc flour

2 bananas

1 orange cut in segments

¼ cup freshly chopped parsley

 

  • Heat the oven to 325˚F and place a rack on the lower third set.
  • Prepare the Bone Stock: Cut the meat separating it from the bones. Heat a large stockpot and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bones and cook them until lightly browned, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Pour 6 cups of cold water, bring to boil, then adjust the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid has thickened and flavored, about 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut the meat into 1–inch cubes and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large Dutch oven pan add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon until it just starts to crisp, about 4 minutes. Lower the heat, add the garlic, and cook until it just starts to golden about 1 minute. Add the onion, bay leaves, nutmeg, and cumin, and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the mixture gets soft and tender for about 6 minutes. Add the beef cubes and cook, stirring occasionally until the meat is browned. During this step, the meat will release its juices moistening the mixture and turning it into a delicious kind of refogado (sofrito). Add the tomato paste and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Strain the broth; you should have about 5 cups. Pour over the meat and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, and transfer to the oven. Braise until the meat is super tender, about 2½ hours, checking often to make sure simmering is at a gentle boil and liquid level is right. You can always add another ½ cup water if necessary. (In a traditional barreado, the manioc paste helps prevent some evaporation. Here, you need to check more often.)
  • Remove from the oven and let it rest at room temperature, covered for 30 minutes. Using a large spoon, smash the meat to shred everything into thin threads. At this point, the dish looks more like a soup than a stew.
  • To serve, place about 3 tablespoons of manioc flour on the bottom of a plate in a circular motion. First, add some of the liquid from the barreado to form a paste, then add the meat. Garnish with banana, oranges, and chopped parsley.

 

 

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