Osso Buco can be either fabulous, or it can be decidedly mediocre.

All recipes are not equal, not by any means. In Chef Dave's opinion, a really good Osso Buco (and yes, of course this one is a Chef Dave'soriginal creation) has that tangy, rich depth of flavor thing going, that can only be obtained by layering flavors. To Dave, layering is gourmet cooking personified.

After many, many efforts, he has constructed a recipe comparable to that found in fine Italian restaurants. That doesn’t mean he is necessarily finished with New Italian Recipe’s Osso Buco. Like most of the Italian recipes featured here, this one will be forever “evolving”. That’s what gourmet cooking is all about for us.

This is a northern Italian dish. It means “bone with a hole” or “hollowed bone”. This descriptive name refers to the veal shank bone with a large and tasty marrow filling. For a more economical version, you can use lamb shanks or even more economical, an uncured, uncooked pork shanks with the hock attached. At the end, this dish is often garnished with a gremolata (or Gremolada), consisting of a mixture of Italian parsley, garlic and grated lemon peel. Dave likes to add a T or so of fresh lemon juice and only a “bit” of the grated peel. Osso Buco’s traditional partner is a Milanese style risotto. It's not bad with garlic mashed potatoes, either. The osso buco gravy slathered over mashed potatoes? Yum, yum! Give it a try!

New Italian Recipes Presents Chef Dave's Version of Osso Buco

Ingredients:
3 lbs. Veal shanks Note: If you can’t find veal, or the cost is prohibitive, you might try lamb or beef shanks or even uncured pork shanks with the hock attached (these can be rather large). Since these substitutes are not as tender as veal, you will probably need to increase the "simmering" time to make sure the meat is really tender. Additional Note: If you use veal, you may want to tie cooking twine around the shanks to keep them from falling apart during cooking.

3-4 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T butter or Butter Buds
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
½ green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
½ red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large stalk celery, coarsely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup Marsala wine (or dry sherry)
1/3 cup brandy
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T tomato paste
Remove the next three items before serving. You can tie them together or wrap them in cheese cloth to make this easier.
1 sprig rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
 

2 cups chicken broth (homemade chicken stock recipe)
 

Veal or beef stock can be substituted.
Salt and pepper to taste

Gremolata:
2 T chopped Italian Parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
½ t grated lemon peel
1 T lemon juice

Mix in a bowl and reserve to sprinkle over individual servings.

 

Preparation:

In a large skillet or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, add 2 T olive oil over medium high heat. Season shanks with salt and pepper on both sides, then brown them on all sides. When browning is down, remove the shanks to a bowl to be added back in later.

In the same pan, reduce heat to low and add 2 T olive oil and butter or Butter Buds.

Add the onions, peppers, carrots, celery and garlic. Stir well to coat, then cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. (This will allow the vegetables to release their juices.

Add the Marsala or sherry and the brandy, also the balsamic vinegar. Stir in well, cover again, and let simmer on low for about 6-8 minutes.

Make a “bouquet garni” out of the rosemary, thyme and bay leaves. (Wrap them in cheese cloth and tie with cooking twine.) Add this to the simmering vegetables, along with the tomato paste. Increase heat to medium-high and add the shanks and chicken, veal or beef stock. Stir both in well to mix with vegetables.

When broth is boiling, reduce heat to low again and cover. Cook for about 1-1 ½ hours. Veal should be “falling off the bone” tender after an hour or less. Lamb, pork or beef might take a full hour and a half to reach maximum tenderness. Falling off the bone is probably not going to happen with lamb, pork or beef, but the meat should be very tasty and quite tender.

Garnish with gremolata, and serve the osso buco with the above-mentioned risotto, or with creamy mashed potatoes.

In keeping with true gourmet cooking, here are a couple of variations for you:
1. Add either a 14 oz. or 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes at the point you add the Marsala and the brandy.
2. At the end of cooking, mix 1 cup of sour cream with 1 T of flour. Stir into the osso buco and remove from the heat. (This would give you a German version. Call it German Veal Shank Stew!)

Be sure to try it with: Milanese style risotto.

Buon appetito always!
Chef Dave
The Villages, Florida
contact: newitalianrecipes2003@comcast.net


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