I went shopping yesterday and came across a good buy. They had veal shanks, half price. I don't buy veal much altho I love it. Its quite expensive. But 5 nice veal shank slices ended up costing me about $10. Not bad. So since I haven't made Osso Buco in a long time and spotted those, I decided that would be dinner tonight. Let me say also that I judge a good Italian restaurant by if this dish is on the menu. I say that because while its not complicated, it does take time. If they take the time to do this, they usually take the care needed with the rest of their menu.
The weather is typical Spring,,,cloudy, sunny, windy and looking on and off like rain. The house was cold this morning so I thought this would be great to warm it up and us. I decided to make this in the crockpot tho, this time. So here's my version culled from reading many online.
Sea's Osso Buco serves 4-6
4-6 veal shanks about 3/4 in. thick
flour seasoned with S & freshly ground P
Olive oil ( I only use extra virgin)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lg. onion, chopped medium to fine
1 lg. carrot chopped fine
1 lg. celery stalk chopped fine
1 c. white wine ( I use white mostly cuz reds give me a headache)
2c. beef broth ( you could use chicken too, I use what I have)
1 can petite diced tomatoes ( you can add fresh if you have them, perhaps 4, seeded and diced well.)
1 bay leaf
1 pinch of dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
Gremolata (traditional topping)
1 garlic clove, minced fine
zest of 1 lemon, chopped
Italian parsley, chopped (eyeball it, you don't want it to overwhelm the other stuff)
First rinse and dry the veal shanks. The flour mixture wont stick as well if wet. Tie up the shanks so when cooking they don't fall apart as the picture shows.
Mix flour with salt and fresh ground pepper. Dredge each shank in the seasoned flour, coating well.
Drizzle some olive oil in a pan and let it get hot. Brown well, all the veal shanks on both sides and the edges. This is important, the brown caramel on it adds tons of flavor. Remove from pan. Do not clean pan, add veggies and scrape any browned bits off while cooking the rest.
Toss the onion in a bit more olive oil if you need it and saute. When getting limp, add the garlic, carrots and celery. This is your mirepoix (Mirepoix is the French name for a combination of onions, carrots, and celery and is the basis of many dishes.)
Saute for about 5min. then add the wine. Raise heat to high and reduce wine to about half or even a bit less. You want to concentrate the flavor. Once reduced, add beef broth and tomatoes and heat till bubbly. Then add bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and basil. Simmer 5min. more.
Put browned veal shanks in bottom of crockpot. Pour veggie sauce over all. Make sure the shanks are either covered or the liquid goes up the side about half way. If not enough, add some water. Cover and cook on high in the crockpot for about 3hrs. or till meat is fork tender.
Gremolata: Zest lemon, peel garlic clove and take a the leaves off a handful of Italian parsley. Chop very finely, together. When serving sprinkle a bit on each serving. Its worth it. It adds a fresh level of flavor to it. Don't forget the marrow in the bones too.....scoop it out and eat it or mix it in the sauce on your place. Its heavenly! Serve with the Rice and Peas.
Rice and Peas
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. frozen peas
2 tb. butter
1/4 c. + parmesan cheese
Mix rice, peas, water and salt and cook over high heat till boiling then lower heat. Cover. When water in pot is almost gone and you can see little holes where its been bubbling, shut the heat off and let stand for 15min. This will help absorb the rest of the water and not overcook the rice so its nice and fluffy. Add butter and cheese and stir well, making sure all of butter is melted. Serve with Osso Buco.