Yes, I said simple. Despite what prices at fancy restaurants might tell you, Osso Bucco is not hard to make at all. It really is a fix it and forget it type of dish.
I had never had these tender fall-off-the-bone shanks before until a few years ago. When we were living in Tennessee the hubby and I went to Valentino’s in Nashville for a super romantic dinner on our second anniversary. Being his favorite dish, the whole reason we picked that restaurant was because they had Osso Bucco on the menu. Needless to say it was love at first bite for me.
Fast forward a year…
We had just arrived in Monterey, California and I wanted to make the hubby Osso Bucco for his birthday. Well the only place I could find veal shanks was at Whole Foods, and they were selling them for $20 a pound! I just didn’t understand that price…shanks are supposed to be a cheap cut of meat–it’s the method used to cook them that makes them so good. So I made him these braised short ribs instead (which were still delicious!).
Fast forward another year (now!)…
We’ve just arrived in Ljubljana, Slovenia. (See 10 things you’ll learn on a trip to Ljubljana that are different in the US). I went to the grocery store and there they were…these beautiful red beef shanks with a huge bone full of delicious marrow!!! I bought 1.4 kilograms (3 lbs) for 9 euro ($12). So now I’m sitting at home while the hubby is at work, with these babies braising on low heat. He’s sure in for a treat tonight! Osso Bucco is normally made with veal shanks, but beef is used frequently as well, and is probably easier to find.
I’m a huge fan of braising meat and braised lots of pork roasts when we bought a pig from the farmer, as well as lots of beef roasts. The overall process is the same every time-sear meat, sauté veggies, deglaze, then cook on low heat in liquid for several hours. If you want the basics you can check them out in one of my previous posts, how to braise meat.
By the way, we just moved into our awesome apartment a few days ago (you can check out some pics and a story about our landlord here), and we don’t have all our household stuff yet. I only brought the very basics for our first few weeks here…a few dishes, a knife, a small cutting board, and of course our 13 inch cast iron skillet. I should have brought a pot holder…oops! If I could only cook with one piece of equipment ever again I would choose cast iron. It can go on the stove or in the oven, and you can make so many different things in it.
Simple Osso Bucco
This recipe is really more like a guide, as it is highly forgiving and easy to customize. For example, I couldn’t find celery at the market so I didn’t use it. Just cook it low and slow and you’ll be good.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 beef or veal shanks (look for ones with a lot of marrow)
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk celery
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 4 cups beef stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- Generously season meat with salt and pepper.
- Add oil to dutch oven or deep cast iron pan. Sear meat on high heat-a couple of minutes each side. Remove meat from pan and set aside.
- Finely chop onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and saute on medium heat until browned. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add wine to deglaze pan. Cook for a few minutes until wine is reduced by half. Add tomato paste and stir.
- Return meat to pan, add bay leaf, thyme, and add enough stock to cover meat most of the way (doesn't have to be submerged).
- Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to a light simmer. Cover pan and leave the lid slightly ajar.
- Simmer on low heat for 3-4 hours (or even more), until the meat is falling off the bone.
- Remove meat and continue simmering the liquid, uncovered, until it has reduced into a sauce. Maybe 15 minutes or so.
- Serve Osso Bucco with the reduced sauce and optional Gremolata.
- Mince garlic and parsley. Then mix them together along with the lemon zest. Sprinkle on top of the meat.
-Add pancetta to the pan before the first step and cook. Remove and then use the fat to sear the shanks. Add pancetta back when you add the stock.
-Use white wine instead of red.
Have you ever had Osso Bucco before? If not, you’re missing out…better make this recipe ASAP!
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