Osso Bucco

ok so everyone has an osso bucco recipe I’m sure… whatever, this is my recipe store and this is how I cook it.  It’s very popular with everyone so it can’t be bad.  The only thing I would say re this recipe is that there are no shortcuts!  Follow it exactly as is or it won’t be as good as you remember.

Ingredients

4 veal osso bucco cuts (or beef if that’s all your butcher has)
1 800g tin crushed tomatoes 
3 cloves garlic
1 ltr vege/beef/chicken salt-reduced stock (I usually just go with what’s in the cupboard/freezer – I find commercially packaged beef stock can be a little overpowering so choose chicken or veg if you don’t have fresh)
1 couple of wineglasses worth of dry white wine
a handful of flour
salt & pepper
1 carrot
a few stalks of celery
1 onion
1 stalk fresh rosemary (optional)
olive oil (extra virgin is NOT necessary)
1 bunch parsley
1 lemon
crusty bread and/or polenta/mashed potoato/rice etc to accompany.
green beans (optional)

You will need a very heavy-based saucepan (you want like a le creuset type thing) which can fit all the meat in a single layer on the bottom.  If you don’t have a saucepan big enough, you will need to split it across multiple saucepans (and may need to increase the volume of tomato/stock/wine).  If you don’t have a heavy based pan, try sitting it inside a frypan or other bigger saucepan.  It must have a lid.

Method

Grab a zip lock bag and throw in the flour, salt and pepper.  You want enough S&P to show up as little black speckles in the flour – it will make the flour look grey-ish.  Drop your meat into the bag and give it a good shake up so the flour coats all sides of the meat.

Chop your carrot into a small dice.  Do the same with the celery and onion – you want to cut enough celery and onion to equal the amount of carrot.   (this is called a mire poix).
Chop 2 of the cloves of garlic finely (leave 1 for later).

Put your saucepan on medium heat with the oil. When it’s warm but not hot add the mire poix to the pan and saute.  You don’t want colour on the vegetables  – you’re just sweating them off till they soften a little.  After a minute or so, add the garlic.
Remove from the pan to a bowl and set aside.
Kick up the heat to high and get it hot – but not smoking. This will happen quickly with olive oil so pay attention.
Add your meat and quickly brown on all sides (you may want to do this in batches rather all in one go).  You are creating a crust to protect the surface of the meat during the slow cooking process yet to come.  You want to get some good dark bits here and there. 
Add a good lug of wine to the pan and allow it to boil for a minute or so – till you can no longer smell alcohol, just lovely wine.  Scrape the crusty bits off the bottom of the pan as it boils.
Add the veg back into the pan.
Pour the tin of tomatoes into the pan.
Top up with enough stock to ensure the meat is covered.
Turn the heat right down low as far as you can.
Here’s where i throw in the rosemary. It’s not a hard and fast rule re the rosemary. use whatever italian hard herbs you have eg thyme; or none if you prefer. whatever it is, it must be a hard stalk. nothing soft like parsley or basil.
Place the lid on top.
Take a big sheet of baking paper and make a cartouche big enough to fit full over the top of the meat ie fold it into quarters then cut a curve into the edge without folds.  Open it up and it should be a rough circle.
Open the lid on the pan and fit the cartouche in tightly over the meat, then wack the lid back on.
Cook that sucker for as long as you can – about an hour and a half should do it.  The meat should be falling off the bone and the tomatoey ‘sauce’ should be thick and luscious not runny.  If it is a little loose, just remove the meat to somewhere warm and cover it.  Then cook the sauce on high heat for a couple of minutes.  Stirring the whole time.
While it’s cooking, you can make the accompaniaments.
I often do instant polenta (cos I’m lazy) or mashed potato.  you could also do rice.  Whatever you wish.  Polenta is my fave.  If you’re really lazy, crusty bread will do.  frankly you will want some bread to mop up the jiuces when you eat it!
Keep it warm in a covered double boiler or warm place of the kitchen.
I also tend to add some steamed green beans with a knob of butter and some toasted almond slivers.
Finally, make the gremolata.
Chop the parsley finely.  You want to end up with about half a cup worth of chopped parsley.  Chuck it into a small bowl.
Chop the remaining garlic clove as finely as is humanly possible.  This is going into your mouth raw so you want it very small!  Add it to the parsley.
Get as much zest off that lemon as you can and add it to the parsley.

To plate up…

A good blob of polenta/mash whatever goes in the middle.
Gently place 2 of the osso bucco cuts on top – be careful not to drop the meat off the bone.  It’ll probably happen anyway but you might get lucky!
Sprinkle some gremolata over the top – be generous!
Add some beans…

If you’re feeeling a little sexy, a little italian, a little devil-may-care, drizzle some good extra virgin olive oil over the top.

Serve with the remaining gremolata on the side and some crusty bread to mop up with.

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