Veal Osso Bucco...In the winter, I like to do a few more meals using the oven. I know it's supposed to be Spring already, but sometimes it still feels like Winter here:). I love the aromas coming from a dish that has been slowly cooking for hours. The house smells wonderfully "homey" and inviting. Generally, I like to make some sort of braised dish.The slow cooking allows you to enjoy some really tender and flavorful meat. Braised dishes are great served with a variety of side dishes such as risotto, polenta, grits, mashed potatoes, pasta, rice, etc. It's a great dish to make ahead as it reheats very well and you can even freeze leftovers. Recently, I've been trying to make some classic dishes...veal osso bucco being one of them.
I first had this particular dish on a cruise ship to Alaska a few years back. I remember how tender and flavorful the meat was. I've been wanting to make it at home ever since that memorable meal on the cruise ship. Here in Montana, certain cuts of meat aren't as readily available as in a big city. You would think I wouldn't have a problem, but my butcher says that veal doesn't sell very well, so they don't stock it very often. It's too expensive, and people usually opt for another cut of meat. But every so often, you might see it on the shelf. So, when I spotted the veal shanks at my local supermarket, I instantly bought them. They only had 4 veal shanks. But I was happy for the 4! Of course, I put my other plans for dinner aside and proceeded to make the osso bucco. I checked out a few recipes online, but ended up using my America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook for the recipe. I changed it slightly, by substituting some tomato paste for the can of tomatoes(because I prefer the tomato paste), using only 4 shanks instead of 6('cause I had only 4) , and substituting a bit of thyme for the parsley(because I didn't have any parsley). Minor changes...or not so minor:). If you don't care to use wine, you can substitute it by using all stock.
I am listing the original recipe...so feel free to do the original. The sauce isn't very thick...it is more on the "watery" side...so feel free to thicken it a bit with a bit of slurry or cook it down on the stovetop. Traditionally, the osso bucco is served over a bed of saffron risotto, a classic Italian dish. Sometimes, polenta is used as an alternative. I decided to go with the polenta, for its "peasant-like" quality and ease of preparation. We enjoyed it, even with the changes I made. Hope you enjoy...
You will need: adapted from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
6 Veal shanks( you can also use beef/lamb)
6 TBS oil
2 onions, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups dry white wine( you can substitute stock)
2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
14 oz can of diced tomatoes( I substituted 2 TBS tomato paste)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley(I didn't have any...so I used a bit of fresh thyme)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons lemon zest, minced
2 teaspoons lemon zest, minced
Blot any moisture from the veal shanks with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.In a heavy pot or dutch oven heat 2 TBS of oil till hot. Brown 3 of the shanks on both sides( I only had 4 shanks instead of the 6 and I did them all at once).
Reduce heat if the fat smokes. It should take you about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Repeat with the remaining shanks. Heat the remaining 2 TBS oil until it shimmers (on medium heat). Add the onions, carrots, and celery.
Cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic(and tomato paste, if using) and cook for a few seconds.
Stir in the wine and broth( or all broth, if not using wine). Scrape up any browned bits that may have accumulated. Add the bay leaves, tomatoes(if using) and the browned shanks, including and accumulated juice. Bring it all to a simmer.
Cover. and place in oven. Cook until the meat is easily pierced with a fork. This should take about 2 hours. Remove shanks from the pot and set aside.
Remove any fat that may have accumulated in the sauce. Discard the bay leaves. Stir in half of the gremolata. Season again for salt and pepper. If you like your sauce to be thicker, you can thicken it a bit with some slurry(flour and water)by cooking the sauce on the stovetop or puree some of the vegetables. Remove the strings from the meat and place on a bed of saffron risotto or polenta or mashed potatoes. Spoon some of the sauce over the meat and sprinkle some of the remaining gremolata. Enjoy!