Tonight for dinner, we whipped up a classic Italian meal of osso buco using beef shanks, but it’s traditionally done with veal shanks (baby cow). The very first time I had osso buco was in Rome, and I realized how much I’ve missed out for not trying it earlier! Osso buco is slow braised with a combination of vegetables, stock, herbs, and wine. All of the flavors get incorporated while the meat becomes so tender it literally can fall off the bone. I love the different textures and flavors of the juicy meat, smooth gelatin, and savory marrow. It’s a unique dish that you can’t find at any restaurant, so we were fortunate enough to prepare this in the comfort of our kitchen – thanks to Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe from The Food Network. It just takes a little bit of time and effort to achieve a satisfying meal.
First, chop up 1 small onion, 1 carrot, and 1 celery stalk. Next, place a sprig of rosemary, thyme, 1 bay leaf, and a couple cloves of garlic into cheesecloth and tie it up - this is the herb bouquet that will go into the pot for braising.
Pat the beef (or veal) shanks dry to remove excess moisture. Secure the meat to the bone with kitchen twine - the reason for this is because you don't want the meat to fall apart once it becomes extremely tender! Next, season with salt and pepper, then dredge the shanks in flour and place into a hot pot and brown all sides. Remove shanks and set aside.
In the same pot, saute the onion, carrots and celery. Season with salt and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Then add 1 tbsp of tomato paste and mix well.
Return the browned shanks to the pot and add 1 cup of red wine (Giada used white wine, but we changed it up). Once the liquid reduces by half, add the herb bouquet and 2 cups of veal demi glace (use chicken stock if you don't have it) and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
Once the shanks are done, remove the twine and sprinkle with parsley and lemon zest. Since we recently had risotto, we decided not to make it for this dish, but risotto is commonly served with osso buco. We completed the meal with a nice glass of red wine and pretty poinsettias to get in the holiday spirit.
To view or print-out this recipe, click here: Osso Buco