Osso Buco – Braised Veal Shin by Jamie Oliver

Saw this dish first done by Jamie Oliver on his Comfort food programme. I know quite a few serious foodies don’t seem to rate Jamie as a serious chef, but I don’t mind the lad. He knocks out a decent feed, and he doesn’t seem to say ‘pucka’ anymore.

This dish’s primary ingredient, veal shank, is common, relatively cheap and flavorful. Although tough, braising makes it tender. The cut traditionally used for this dish comes from the top of the thigh which has a higher proportion of bone to meat than other meaty cuts of beef. The shank is then cross-cut into sections about 3 cm thick.
Ossobuco or osso buco translates (rather unflatteringly) in Italian for “bone with a hole” (osso bone, buco hole), a reference to the marrow hole at the centre of the cross-cut veal shank.

Two slices fresh from the butcher
Two slices fresh from the butcher

I got two big slices from my local butcher (Nicola at Red Bank Farm Shop) for just under £8.

Although recipes vary, most start by browning the veal shanks in butter after dredging them in flour, while others recommend vegetable oil or lard.The braising liquid is usually a combination of white wine and meat broth flavoured with vegetables.
The traditional accompaniment for the great ossobuco is risotto alla Milanese, commonly known in Italy as risotto allo zafferano – that brilliant yellow saffron risotto. But I couldn’t be bothered doing that and had mashed spuds instead. To be fair this or polenta is a still pretty good as a simple serving suggestion.

Ingredients to serve 4

4 ossobuco, (cross-cut veal shanks, bone in, roughly 1.5kg in total – order in advance from your butcher)
1 whole nutmeg, for grating
plain flour, for dusting
2 knobs of unsalted butter
olive oil
2 onions
2 small carrots
2 cloves of garlic
2 sticks of celery
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
200 ml Pinot Bianco , or Verdicchio (white wine!)
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1 litre chicken stock
For the gremolata:
2 small cloves of garlic
30 g fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Season the ossobuco lightly with sea salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg, then dust them in flour, shaking off any excess. Put your widest ovenproof pan on a medium heat with the butter and a really good lug of oil, then add the ossobuco, making sure they’re not touching each other. Fry for 10 to 15 minutes, or until nicely golden, turning halfway – the more care you put into building up good colour now, the better the depth of flavour will be later.

fry first and get a good colour
fry first and get a good colour

While they’re cooking, peel the onions, carrots and garlic, trim the celery, then finely chop it all with the rosemary leaves. When the veal has browned nicely, remove it to a plate. Drain away most of the fat from the pan, then add all the chopped veg and rosemary and cook for 15 minutes, stirring regularly.

chopping and sweating the veg
chopping and sweating the veg

Pour in the wine and cook it away, then stir in the tomato purée and stock. Bring to the boil, using a wooden spoon to pick up all the sticky goodness from the bottom of the pan, then turn the heat off. Return the meat to the pan, cover with a damp sheet of greaseproof paper and tin foil, then carefully transfer to the middle of the oven. Cook for 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling apart – check on it halfway, adding a splash of water, if needed. If there is a lot of liquid I just put back on the hob and reduced it down, keeping the meat warm on a plate in the oven.

The result with the gremolata and the hole in the bone
The result with the gremolata and the hole in the bone

With about 30 minutes to go on the ossobuco, you could start your risotto allo zafferano (or your mashed spuds!) When that’s done, to make a quick gremolata, peel and roughly chop the garlic with the parsley leaves, finely grate over the lemon zest, then chop and mix together until fine. Divide the risotto or mashed potatoes between warm bowls, then place the ossobuco on top. Season the cooking liquor to perfection (loosening with a few splashes of boiling water if needed) and spoon over the top, then scatter over the gremolata – as soon as it hits the heat of the meat it will explode with wonderful fragrant flavour. It’s well worth doing the gremolata, it’s easy to do and gives a real burst. Enjoy

I based my recipe on Jamies link below
http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/beef-recipes/ossobuco-alla-milanese

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The Elephant – Woolton, Liverpool

“Another quality food and drink emporium from the Simon Rimmer stable”

It was a rather subdued young relative that The Flame and I picked up from her newly acquired abode on the outskirts of Liverpool. Another session of student life beckons. However, the poor girl was minus her usual ‘bonhomie’ on account of her having her wheels half inched within hours of arrival by the local hub cap collection service. We figured an honest feed would win over the day. A quick plug into the ‘smartish’ phone revealed that Simon Rimmer’s new gaff ‘The Elephant’ was a mere five miles away. We pointed the steed towards leafy Woolton.

Always had a good meal at a Simon Rimmer place. He likes his fresh local produce, and that is what’s promised at The Elephant. Earle in Hale is good and his veggie haunt ‘Greens’ in Didsbury (reviewed here) is always good for a decent feed, so I reckoned we were in for a treat.

Very smart from the outside
Very smart from the outside

We slowly entered the sunlit village. The Elephant homed into view. And what a splendid sight. Dappled in bright sunshine punctuated with copious amounts of brightly coloured foliage. It really did look the part.  A smart outdoor area was being heavily utilised, we doubted we would get in.

Nice outdoor bit, nice branding!
Nice outdoor bit, nice branding!

However, the three of us were quickly ‘ooshed’ to a bright wooden booth complete with scatter cushions. Water based restoratives were quickly provided by the bright, smartly uniformed young chaps and lassies. All was well. As it was a Sunday the menu was a simple affair reflecting the British tradition of a hearty Sunday roast.

The logo. Simple menu
The logo. Simple menu

First impressions of the newly opened unit were entirely favourable. Farrow and Ball and the branding lads have done well here. The duck egg blue paintwork looked smart and contemporary. Any doubts that you were in The Elephant are quickly dashed as there are elephants everywhere, be it pictures or sculptures. There is a bit of a logo fest going on. Even the cutlery tins are branded! Still, it all looks rather agreeable. You could bring your mum here no trouble.

Elephants are everywhere
Elephants are everywhere

And what about the grub? Well as I said its simple Sunday fayre, but by hokey its good. The Flame kicked off with the healthy option. roasted salmon on a feta salad (£9.95). She concluded all was well, particularly liking the feta which gave the whole ensemble an acidic lift.

The roast, salmon salad, fish and chips
The roast, salmon salad, fish and chips

 

The aforementioned, hurting young relative was suitably perked to crash through a sensational Fish, Chip and minted mushy pea fest (£10.95). I’m a great lover of the traditional chippy tea and this was as good as any I’ve seen. I think you’ll agree from the image. Our ordinarily difficult to please student was well chuffed. I managed a quick forkful and concur that quality is the ‘mot juste’.

I continued my unofficial quest for the best Sunday Roast beef. At £9.95 this was well up there with the best. The beef was rare, tender and very tasty, just as I like it. All the veg wonderfully cooked and all piping hot.  The only issue for me was that I wasnt able to indulge in the vast array of craft beers that were on offer. Such was the choice that a beautifully presented (and branded) booklet was on hand to help. A previous nights excessive binge on the ‘hop’ had led The Flame to suggest I should refrain on this quaint afternoon occasion.

a bit more fish & roast, brownie and cheesecake
a bit more fish & roast, brownie and cheesecake

For research purposes the baked cheesecake with raspberry sauce (£4.95) was tested. And it was proper. No moussey mess here, proper baked job, lovely.  The vexed student commiserated with a chocolatey brownie and caramel ice cream (£4.95), again voted in with a considerable majority. No re-election needed here.

Branded tins, craft ale, branded tab slate
Branded tins, craft ale, branded tab slate

All in all a cracking afternoon. The bill came to £46.95 for the three of us and not a bad course. The service was superb, swarmed as we were with young, pleasant enthusiastic waiters. We reckon we’ve found another favourite and if you fancy something really different tagged round the back is ‘The Liberty Tavern‘ an American diner full of lobster and pancakes. We’ll be trying that one as well soon.

The Elephant, 1 Woolton St, Woolton, L25 5NH

0151 909 3909

http://www.theelephantwoolton.co.uk