Osso Buco


Cooking With Glenn

by Glenn Sawyer


Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones… Yes an old spiritual in reference to Ezekiel 37 where the bones will rise again. But from my perspective it’s not about dry bones its more about fresh bones and the amazing flavor they can impart into a meal. In restaurants you see all sorts of steaks with the bone in. Some of you may have seen Ox Tail soup. Even good stock is made with the bones, so what is this obsession with bones? Well, the truth is there is lots of good in dem bones.

In Osso Buco a veal shank is slowly braised with tomato, vegetables and wine to create pure culinary delight. It’s one of my favorite dishes, for that matter when I made it for this recipe I was so excited I forgot to get my picture till it was all gone. The recipe originates in Milan and literally means bone with a hole (osso/bone and buco/hole). It’s really quite easy to prepare but takes about 2-3 hours.
• Veal shanks
• Flour, Salt, Pepper, thyme and a Bay Leaf
• Wine, olive oil
• Carrots, Celery, Onion
• Tomato Paste
• Veal or Chicken stock
You need a heavy roasting pan or I prefer to do this stove top in my cast iron dutch oven. The only trick to this recipe is to get the first step right which is to brown the shanks, all the rest is pretty easy. I usually tie the shanks with some cooking twine to make them easier to handle. After tying I make sure they are patted dry then rub them with some olive oil. Salt and pepper both sides then dredge in flour.
In the meantime heat two tablespoons of olive oil in the dutch oven in preparation for browning the shanks. The oil needs to get very hot, place the shanks in the pan and brown all sides of each shank. Once all the shanks are nicely browned set them aside and put the diced carrots, celery and onion in the pot and cook till the onion is translucent and the celery starts to soften.
Add the thyme, bay leaf the can of tomato paste and a cup of wine to the pot with the veggies then put the shanks back in. Fill the pot with the stock to where the tops of the shanks are still above the liquid. Cover and simmer, your almost there, now about every 10-15 minutes check the shanks and keep re-filling the stock to maintain the level. After 30-40 min turn the shanks. Cook until the meat is falling away from the bone but still provides some resistance to the touch.
The traditional pairing is Gremolata, or Risotto, but the other night I served it with Sundried Tomato Couscous. The rich creamy texture of the sauce created by the long cook cycle will have everyone mopping their plates.
Till Next Month, Make it Your Own!

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