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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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