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All About Osso Buco


Z28Racer
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And don't forget the gremolata.

Finely chopped parsely (either curly or Italian flat-leaf is ok)

Finely minced garlic

Finely chopped lemon zest

Toss together. The mixture should be 1:1:1, but you can vary the proportions to your taste.

Top each serving with a sprinkle of gremolata, passing the remainder at the table.

SA

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Most important step is browning the shanks - leave 'em til they're really good and browned, you'll be glad you did. The recipe I use is Mario Batali's from "Simple Italian Cooking" - if it's on the Food Network website, I'll post a link here.

EDIT: here's the link: http://www.foodtv.com/foodtv/recipe/0,6255...55,7198,00.html

As for the gremolata, it's also lovely mixed with orange and lemon zests and some toasted pignoli nuts.

Edited by Liza (log)
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A few variations on the other recipes:

For the Food Network recipe, drop the carrots and instead of making a separate tomato sauce, after you have browned the shanks and reduced the wine sauce, set them aside and simply chop up a pound or less of fresh tomatoes, add a bit of butter to the skillet, and saute them up into a sauce, adding it to the shanks as they cook. The recipe is a bit quicker if you use one skillet (preferably cast-iron) for stove-top browning and a large dutch oven or creuset type covered pot for the oven roasting. You can start the cooking by putting the shanks into the oven along with the reduced white wine sauce, as you are preparing the tomatoes.

To create a richer sauce, I also add demi-glace to the wine-based cooking sauce, and in addition to the shanks I also brown up a pound or so of meaty veal stewing bones and add that to the pot. Later they become the basis for an amuse boche for another meal or a treat for the cook waiting to serve the main course.

Elizabeth David classic, Italian Food (1954, oft-reprinted), has the base recipe I use.

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Everybody's right so far. :biggrin:

I pretty much use the recipe from Marcella Hazan's "Classic Italian Cookbook" and "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking." Sauté chopped onion, carrots, and celery until almost soft; add chopped garlic and lemon zest and cook until everything is soft. Flour the pieces of meat before browning them separately. Add them to the vegetables. Deglaze the pan you browned them in white wine; add the deglazing liquid, tomatoes(good-quality canned are all right), stock, herbs, and S & P to the pot. Bring to a boil, then cover tightly and bake at 350ºF for a couple of hours. Finito. Although sometimes when I do it, I purée some of the vegs to get a really thick sauce.

She also has a version without the extra vegetables, tomatoes, or stock. Just brown the floured meat, add wine, and simmer until almost (~ 2 hours). Add lemon zest and parsley just before serving. This version is not a make-ahead like the other one, she says.

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Everybody's right so far.  :biggrin:

I pretty much use the recipe from Marcella Hazan's "Classic Italian Cookbook" and "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking."  Sauté chopped onion, carrots, and celery until almost soft; add chopped garlic and lemon zest and cook until everything is soft.  Flour the pieces of meat before browning them separately.  Add them to the vegetables.  Deglaze the pan you browned them in white wine; add the deglazing liquid, tomatoes(good-quality canned are all right), stock, herbs, and S & P to the pot.  Bring to a boil, then cover tightly and bake at 350ºF for a couple of hours.  Finito.  Although sometimes when I do it, I purée some of the vegs to get a really thick sauce.

She also has a version without the extra vegetables, tomatoes, or stock.  Just brown the floured meat, add wine, and simmer until almost (~ 2 hours).  Add lemon zest and parsley just before serving.  This version is not a make-ahead like the other one, she says.

This is a great recipe and great advice.

The classic accompaniment is Risotto Milanese (Italian rice with Saffron), but many people also serve it with polenta when they are cooking at home. This is a good excuse to bring out a mature Barbaresco or Barolo.

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She also has a version without the extra vegetables, tomatoes, or stock.  Just brown the floured meat, add wine, and simmer until almost (~ 2 hours).  Add lemon zest and parsley just before serving.  This version is not a make-ahead like the other one, she says.

This is the recipe I've been using lately. Only I'll throw in a little garlic and a few anchovy fillets a la Bittman. It reheats just fine if you add a little of Marcella's secret ingredient--water.

Suzanne, you ever notice the editing of the recipes in "Essentials" from the originals in "The Classic"?

PJ

"Epater les bourgeois."

--Lester Bangs via Bruce Sterling

(Dori Bangs)

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Suzanne, is flouring the meat really necessary? I don't flour my meats before browning anymore. It seems that I'm browning the flour and NOT the meat, and I don't get as nice a fond with the flour. Also, the flour coating always falls off and floats around in my sauxe. Gack.

I had an osso buco once with a few dried cranberries in the sauce. It was terrific - just a little sweetness.

Stop Family Violence

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Red meats I don't usually flour before browning -- beef, lamb -- because the meats themselves brown so well and make a good fond. But in this case I prefer flouring the veal, precisely because it's the flour that browns; to get the veal itself properly brown, I'm afraid I'd have to cook the hell out of it. Also, if I'm not puréeing any of the veg in the sauce, the little extra thickening from the flour is a plus. Gives kind of a creaminess to the sauce that I really like.

BTW: I'm with Marcella on NOT liking to add gremolata on serving; the raw garlic and lemon zest are jarring. But I do like to add some minced preserved lemon.

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I think I ignored this thread when it first startd because I thought I would never find veal shanks in Japan, well lo and behold I did, and I was about to start a new thread when I searched and found this one just a week old!

Here is my problem

I was planning to use the recipe from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Italian Cooking but she call for the shanks to be braised in the oven. My oven is the size of a microwave and no stove top pan I own can fit into it. Would it be better to braise the entire thing on the stove and if so would there be a time adjustment? or should I transfer it to a casserole and cook it like that in the oven. By casserole I mean a 9 inch square pyrex baking dish.

Aas I was looking at recipes I ran across one in Lynne Rosetto Kasper's The Italian Copuntry Table and it calls for the additions of dried porcini, fresh mushrooms, anchovies, sugar snap peas and fava beans using sage and rosemary as the herbs.

This sounds great but i think I want to try a "regular " version first. Anyone every try this Kasper version?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Sure, you can do it on the stove top -- you just have to be more vigilant, checking it to make sure the liquid is all right, and that nothing is sticking.

How big are the pieces of meat? Will they all fit in the pyrex with a good amount of vegs and liquid (not necessarily to cover, but to come pretty far up). If the pyrex is roomy enough so that the food won't boil over, and you can cover it tightly, it too would work. In that case, though, you might want to lower the oven temp. by 25ºF, because of the glass's heat conductivity.

Hey, it's just a stew! :biggrin: And you know how adaptable stews are. :biggrin::biggrin:

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Coming late to this thread, I'll just second anything that has to do with Marcella's "Classic" volumes.

It's well worth making the risotto to go along.

Last time I made this, I got the butcher to cut two shanks so I could have the two largest pieces from each. They were over a pound apiece. Four of 'em, at $9. a pound. Still, worth it.

Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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I remember reading in one of MH's books that in the past most Italian kitchens didn't have an oven. Stove-top or outdoor grilling were the only options. So stove-top cooking is authentic and the way I do my shanks. Her technique for cooking beans in the oven does work well though.

Dana, it sounds like you're using too much flour. All you want is a very, very light over-all dusting. It will enhance the browning and the fond.

All this veal and flour talk is making me hungry for a MH stew with tomato and peas.

PJ

"Epater les bourgeois."

--Lester Bangs via Bruce Sterling

(Dori Bangs)

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I was unable to lay hands on either of the Marcella Hazan books, so I went with the Battali/Food TV recipe. I did take some tips suggested here: I floured the shanks before browning, and rather than add salt to the pot, I added a few anchovies. I let everything simmer for about 3 hours and it yielded amazingly tender shanks and a suitably rich sauce. Dad was doing handsprings.

I was considering polenta for a side dish, but was a little pressed for time and utensils, so I opted for risotto.

Speaking of polenta, does anyone ever fry theirs? The last time I made it, I let it cool, cut it into sections, and fried it in about 1/2" of olive oil until the outside was crisp. Yowza.

Forgot to add: for the gremolata, I used orange and lemon zest. My neighbor has several citrus trees, and I can pick from them any time...

Edited by Z28Racer (log)
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My osso buco is simmering as I type. I used Marcell's recipe and am doing it on the stove.

I still ahve about 30 minutes to decide whether to do the polento or risotto.

decisions, decisions....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 2 years later...

Has anyone cooked the Osso Bucco in a crock pot after browning instead of the oven? This seems like a good idea since the even slow-cooking of the crock pot is perfect for braising. Would you crock on high or low?

My anniversary is on Sunday and I have a lovely chianti just perfect for the occasion, I'm thinking the Osso Bucco will go perfect with it!

Also, any suggestions for a vegetable side with this? I would usually have a fresh green salad.

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  • 3 years later...

A couple of weeks ago I went out to dinner with a few friends - it had been a long time since I ate out and I wanted this to be special. I ordered the Osso Buco. I never had it before, so wasn't sure what to expect. After the meal I felt that I didn't get my full money's worth, and started researching Osso Buco. Here's what I found:

The veal shanks, in all the pictures I saw, were lighter in color than beef shanks, and lighter in color than what I had for dinner. I cannot help but wonder if this Berkeley restaurant was being "politically correct" and providing beef instead of veal. Could the restaurant have used "old" veal? The menu said "Veal Osso Buco." For future information, is there a way to determine if the meat is veal or beef?

The Osso Buco came to the table pretty quickly, and tasted somewhat dry. I suspect the meat was prepared earlier and then just warmed over for table service. I also suspect that this happens frequently in many restaurants, and that in and of itself is not a bad thing, and that the execution is the main consideration. Comments?

In reading about the dish, some articles suggested that the rear shanks contain more marrow, which, in my novice opinion, is part of what Osso Buco is about. I had three pieces of meat on the bone, and only one bone had marrow, and it did not go all the way through the bone. I feel as though I got shortchanged on the marrow. In fact, one of the bones didn't have meat all around it, just a couple of small pieces stuck to the bone.

Now I am determined to find a restaurant that serves good Osso Buco. What questions should I ask? What should I look for?

I also want to make some at home - any tips or suggestions? What to look for in good, high quality veal?

Thanks for any and all help.

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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I have made Osso Buco many times, but I only endeaver to do so when I find a very high-quality veal.

The difference in the meat is in the way it is raised. Some are fed mother's milk only, and are very young when they are brought to market. This leads to a very pale meat, which will also be very tender because the animals receive very little or no exercise. Keeping the calves indoors also contributes to their light color. Other calves are fed grain, or are allowed to roam, or to be outdoors, all of which will make the meat darker.

This is not to say you always want the veal to be pale, but in general this is what I look for. The exception is the purveyer at my Farmer's Market whose veal is on the darker side, even though it is milk fed, and they tell me that this is because their veal is brought to martet at a little older age.

This is a photo of the finest meat I've found, which I made in Montreal at my Mom's place, with milk-fed veal from the Charlevoix region. The final product is still dark, even though the meat was initially very pale, so I'm not sure you can tell the original tone just by looking at the cooked product. Texture will also play a role.

gallery_41870_2503_18772.jpg

gallery_41870_2503_14201.jpg

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...

The Osso Buco came to the table pretty quickly, and tasted somewhat dry.  I suspect the meat was prepared earlier and then just warmed over for table service.  I also suspect that this happens frequently in many restaurants, and that in and of itself is not a bad thing, and that the execution is the main consideration.  Comments?

Since Osso Buco is braised (say for two hours or so), it has to be prepared in advance. As you say, that is not a bad thing. Many slow cooked dishes will actually taste even better if they are prepared the prevous day and then reheated.

It is not a hard dish to make - cook it yourself! I f you take the time to do it properly, the result will probably be better than what most restaurants will serve.

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anyone got a direction to a great Osso Buco recipe?

Will probably cook it Sous Vide.

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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anyone got a direction to a great Osso Buco recipe?

Will probably cook it Sous Vide.

What temperature do you have in mind? I did it once at the same temperature I had cooked short ribs sous vide (70°C). That was too high and all the juices were expelled into the bag leaving me with dry and stringy osso bucco. What would you say to 60°C?

Ruth Friedman

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I'd add that a good thick piece of veal is preferred. I spent a couple of weeks in Umbria this summer, and discovered that a thin (3/4"-1") piece of shank is standard in markets there. With my minimal Italian, I had a difficult time explaining to the butchers that I wanted much thicker pieces. But I succeeded, I cooked from memory something very close to Marcella's recipe, and the thicker veal and longer cooking times produced a perfect sauce.

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The plan is to brown the shank in a light sprinkling of icing sugar.

Making one of the sauces names above and bagging them.

Then cooking for 12hrs at 58c to render the connective tissue.

Anyone been here?

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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