Thursday, October 24, 2013

Osso Buco

Life has been crazy for both of the K's!  In the last two weeks, Kelsey and I (Kim) have both moved to new homes. Needless to say, cooking has not been a high priority; but this lovely Osso Buco was a result of cleaning out of the freezer!  I had bought the veal shanks months ago for a dinner party that did not materalize! Instead, I cooked this flavorful dish for our special guest, Kelsey, Tim and I as one of our last meal in our Arlington home.  Osso Buco has long been a favorite of my husband and he declared this the best dinner that I have ever made. Kelsey and I were in agreement that it is was pretty fabulous! If you are in need of an elegant dish for guests, you should give this recipe a try!

Osso Buco

adapted from Fine Cooking

5  2 inch-thick veal shanks
Kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 cups finely diced yellow onion (about 2 medium onions)
1 cup finely diced celery (about 2 stalks)
3/4 cup finely diced carrot (about 2 small carrots)
1 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped, juices reserved
2 cup low-salt beef broth, more if needed
1 large sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
2 Tbs. veal demi glace
2 Tbs. cornstarch 

For the gremolata:
3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest

Heat the oven to 350°F.

Tie the veal shanks around the middle with kitchen string (if they’re not tied already) and season them with salt. (Several recipes that I checked suggested to let the shanks set with salt for up to 2 hours before cooking but I only let my shanks set for 30 minutes while prepping veggies.)  Put the flour in a dish. Dredge the shanks very lightly in flour, thoroughly shaking off the excess.

Have ready a roasting pan or baking dish large enough to hold the shanks in a single layer (I used my Le Creuset  or a 9x13 will work well). In a large heavy skillet, heat 3 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat. Put three veal shanks in the pan and sear until nicely browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Move the shanks to the roasting pan. Repeat with the remaining shanks.

Wipe out pan with paper towels (it’s fine if the browned bits remain in the pan bottom; just wipe away the used oil). Return the pan to medium heat and add the butter and remaining 1 Tbs. of oil. When the butter is melted, add the onion, celery, carrot, oregano, half of the garlic and 1 tsp. salt. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the wine, and cook, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon, until the wine is reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes

Stir in the tomato paste and demi glace. Add the tomatoes with their juices, the broth, thyme, bay leaf, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Bring to a boil, and pour the contents of the pan over the shanks. Make sure to pile the vegetables on top of the shanks so the flavor cooks into the meat.  Place remaining garlic on the tops of the shanks.  Cover tightly with lid or heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Braise the veal in the oven until fork-tender, 1-1/2 to 2 hours, checking the liquid occasionally. If it has cooked down, add enough broth to keep the level about halfway up the shanks. To check for doneness, pierce a shank with a fork. The meat should pull apart easily. Taste a morsel—it should feel soft and tender. Do not overcook, or the veal will fall apart.

Gently brush most of the vegetable bits off the shanks. With a wide, flat metal spatula, carefully transfer the veal shanks to a dish. Strain the pan juices through a medium-mesh sieve into a saucepan, pressing hard on the solids with a spatula to extract as much sauce as you can.  I took the solids and placed them in a small blender and pause them for 5 or 6 time to turn them into a liquid and added this to the sauce.  Bring the sauce to a simmer.  In a bowl, combine the cornstarch with a ladle of the sauce.  Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the rest of the sauce and cook briefly to thicken. If you’re working ahead, stop here (see Make-ahead Tips for reheating).

Make the gremolata:

Just before finishing the sauce and serving, combine the parsley, garlic, and lemon zest. Add two Tbs. of the gremolata to the sauce. Remove the strings from the shanks. Serve the osso buco topped with the sauce and a small sprinkling of the remaining gremolata. ***I actually forgot to make the gremolata so it is not pictured on my Osso Buco! I understand that this makes a big difference but my dish was tremendous without it.

Make Ahead Tips

To make the osso buco ahead, braise the veal and strain and thicken the sauce with arrowroot. Wipe the roasting pan clean, return the shanks to the pan, and pour the sauce over the shanks. Let them cool at room temperature for an hour, cover well, and refrigerate for up to two days. (I made my dish in the morning.) To reheat, cover the pan with foil and set in a 325°F oven until the shanks are hot, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the shanks to a dish, then make the gremolata, adding it to the sauce and sprinkling it over the shanks.

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