September 18th, 2010
Osso Buco is braised shin of veal. The Italian translation means bone with a hole, as the veal shin is cut crossways into 1 inch chop like pieces, each having a bone in the centre containing bone marrow.
Osso Buco recipe (serves 3, but if you are greedy like me, 2 people):
3 pieces of ossi buchi
2 tablespoons of olive oil or goose fat
salt and pepper
1 medium to large onion
2 medium carrots
2 sticks of celery
6 pieces of garlic
4 or 5 fresh plum tomatoes (or a tin of the same)
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 teaspoon of anchovy paste
2 glasses of red wine for the osso buco (and 1 for the chef)
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
half a pint of home made chicken or beef stock
1 teaspoon of mustard powder
1 bouquet garni
a sprinkle of crushed chilli
I suggest buying your ossi buchi from a good butcher, it’s rare to see them in a supermarket. I particularly like it when the butcher cuts them, fresh, for me.
I do the first two phases of cooking in separate pans, because that way I can do them at the same time. Most recipes call for using the same large cast iron casserole and cooking first the veal and then removing it while you cook the vegetables before adding it again.
Start off by chopping the vegetables finely, heat some olive oil in a large cast iron casserole then add the onions and crushed chilli. After a few minutes add the carrots and celery. Once these have been heated through, add the garlic (if you add it too early it will burn, so just before the tomatoes is a good time). Blanch the tomatoes if using fresh ones, that way you can remove the skin which is a bit thick and tough. Chop and add the tomatoes, puree and anchovy paste. If using tinned tomatoes, they are soft, so you can squash them with a potato masher, once you have added them to the pan.
For the veal, I stir a teaspoonful of mustard powder into a few tablespoons of plain flour, then I coat the ossi buchi with it. Next, heat a large cast iron frying pan and add some goose fat or olive oil. Lightly brown the ossi buchi all over and add them to your vegetables.
Deglaze the ossi buchi frying pan with some red wine and the red wine vinegar – add this to your casserole, plus the stock and the bouquet garni. If your sauce seems thin at this stage, add a little of the left over, seasoned, flour (don’t worry if it looks lumpy, it will dissolve while cooking).
Cover your casserole and put it into a preheated oven, at 120º C, for about 2 hours or until tender. I normally look at it and taste it halfway through. When the 2 hours are up, check and adjust the seasoning. I often add a little more vinegar and wine. I added a little balsamic vinegar last time (about a teaspoonful), which was great. Once you are satisfied with the flavour, cover it again and put it back in the oven – you can turn the oven off at this point while you cook accompanying vegetables, polenta, etc. The oven and cast iron casserole will easily retain their heat for half an hour. I like to serve osso buco with mashed potato.
An alternative and older recipe, is osso buco alla Milanese, which you can find here – I’ve tried it and it’s also very good!
Make sure you eat the bone marrow in the centre of the bone – I didn’t really fancy it at first, but tried it and it turned out to be absolutely delicious!