It’s mid-December and in many areas the weather has taken a turn for the grim. The days are short and dark and curling up with a cup of tea in front of the fire is a very appealing prospect. What could be more delicious for dinner than a hearty braise, served over creamy risotto?
Osso bucco are Italian veal shanks and my friend Steve makes the best version I have ever had (it’s even better than the one I tried at Babbo restaurant in NYC!). Luckily he gave me the recipe so now I can make it whenever I please. It’s ideal for cold winter nights when you don’t want to fuss because it’s easy to put together and most of the cooking time is unattended. Any good butcher should be able to get you veal shanks so ask for them if you don’t see them on display.
Tip: Don’t skip the gremolata – it brings all of the flavours together.
Steve’s Osso Bucco
Makes 6 servings
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 6 veal shanks (osso bucco)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium red onions, diced
- 4 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 bottle (750 ml) dry white wine
- 3 cups (700 ml) chicken stock
- 14 fl. oz. can San Marzano tomatoes with juice (or half of a large can)
- 1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
- 3 Tablespoons finely chopped Italian (flat leaf) parsley
- The rind from 2 lemons (yellow part only), finely diced
- In a large bowl, add the flour, salt and pepper and stir to combine thoroughly. Roll each of the veal shanks in the flour, making sure they are coated on all sides. Shake off any excess flour and set the shanks aside on a plate. Discard any leftover flour.
- In an enameled cast iron pot (5.5 quart or larger) or other large pot with a lid, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the veal shanks to the oil, making sure they are not crowded in the pot (work in batches if necessary). The shanks will take about 3 to 4 minutes per side to brown. Use tongs or a fork to turn them over.
- Remove the browned shanks from the pot and set aside. Add the butter to the pot and heat until melted. Add the chopped onion, celery and carrots. Reduce the heat to medium-low and sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 7 to 8 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
- Turn the heat back to medium-high and pour in the wine, chicken stock and tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes with a spoon and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Return the veal shanks to the pot and use one of the following methods to finishing cooking:
- Stovetop Method: Cover and simmer for 2 to 4 hours on medium-low heat, until the meat is tender. Do not let the mixture come to a boil. OR use the Oven Method: Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the pot and place in the oven, cooking for 3 hours or until the shanks are tender.
- To Make the Gremolata: In a small bowl, add the chopped garlic, parsley and lemon rind and stir to thoroughly combine.
- Stir the gremolata into the osso bucco sauce just before serving.
- Serve the shanks and sauce over risotto milanese. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.
A Delicious Tip: The bone marrow at the centre of each cooked shank can be seasoned with sea salt and scooped out with a small spoon. Serve with toast rounds if desired.
Bon Appétit and Enjoy!