Slow braised meats are my favorite type of dish, and the osso bucco is a classic comfort dish – particularly good for the cold winter nights.
I first learned my osso bucco from the Terra cookbook and I recently had a “refresher” at the Culinary Institute of America bootcamp.
serves: 8 difficulty: medium prep time: 4 hrs
- 4 veal shanks (osso bucco)
- 1 large onion – diced
- 2 large carrots – diced
- 5 stalks of celery – diced
- 1 can tomatoes
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2-3 tbs canola or vegetable oil
- 2 cups white wine
- 6 cups veal or chicken stock stock
- 3 tbs chopped parsley
- zest from one lemon
To prepare the mirepoix, dice the onion, carrots, and celery, and mince the garlic.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, and saute the mirepoix (onions, garlic, carrots and celery) until translucent – about 10 – 15 min. Then add the fennel seeds and pepper flakes.
With a hand blender or food processor, puree the canned tomatoes. Stir in the tomatoe puree in the mirepoix. Saute for another 2 min. Add the white wine, and bring to a boil. Then add the stock and bring to a boil again. Season with 2 tbs salt or more if needed.
In the meantime, pat dry the veal shank pieces with paper towel.
Heat 2-3 tbs canola or vegetable oil in a frying pan. Season the shanks on one side with salt and pepper, and place in the pan with the seasoned side down. While the shanks are browning on the down side, season the upper side with salt and pepper. Once browned on one side, flip, and brown on the other.
While the meat is browning I usually use scissors to cut the connective tissue encircling the shanks. Otherwise the connective tissue has the tendency to shrink more / faster than the meat while cooking, and as a result the shank pieces tend to warp; cutting the connective tissue keeps them flat.
Remove from the pan and place in an oven proof Dutch oven. For all my braises I use a large Bulgarian clay pot called гювеч [gyuvech] that my dad brought me 20 yrs ago. But any oven proof Dutch oven would do.
You also need to make parchment lid for your Dutch oven. This is another trick I learned from the Terra cookbook. Start with a square piece of parchment large enough to cover your Dutch oven completely. Fold it diagonally to form a triangle. Hold the middle of the folded edge of the triangle, and fold again so that the long side of the triangle is folded on itself. Then hold the edge of the triangle that’s folded, and keep folding in half. Every time you fold, use the handles of scissors or the handle of a knife to press the folded edges.
At the end you should have something resembling a paper airplane. Then measure the parchment lid in your Dutch oven – the length of your parchment “airplane” needs to be equal to the internal radius of the vessel.
Cut off the excess length of the paper airplane, and cut half an inch off the tip of it. When you unfold the parchment airplane you should have a circle with a small hole in the middle.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Add the mirepoix and stock mixture to the Dutch oven, cover with the parchment lid, and place in the oven.
Braise for 3+ hours in the oven. The meat should be very tender – falling off the large center bone. Once the meat is ready, use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the shanks from the Dutch oven and place them in a metal tray. Wait for the braising liquid to cool and then place it in the food processor. Puree the sauce until smooth. The resulting sauce should be quite thick.
When ready to serve, warm the veal shanks in the oven, place them on warn plates and cover with the sauce. Creamy polenta makes a nice side dish for the osso bucco. Optionally, you can also make gremolata (chopped parsley and lemon zest) and sprinkle it on top.
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