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Osso bucco is a lovely Italian veal stew, literally meaning “bone with a hole” (osso bone, buco hole), a reference to the marrow hole at the center of the veal shank.

“There are two types of ossobuco: a modern version that has tomatoes and the original version which does not. The older version, ossobuco in bianco, is flavored with cinnamon, bay leaf and gremolata. The modern and more popular recipe includes tomatoes, carrots, celery and onions.” Wikipedia

I made the modern version (with a few twists), but the traditional version also sounds delicious and will most certainly be making an appearance on the blog very soon…. I do however add the gremolata* from the traditional version as it adds a welcome ‘freshness’ wich cuts through the richness of the stew and enhances the flavours present. This version also uses red wine instead of white wine and sees the addition on mushrooms, cause they go so well with with meat and red wine.

*Gremolata or gremolada is a chopped herb condiment typically made of lemon zestgarlic, and parsley.

If you have a hard time getting your hands on veal shanks, or have a moral issue with eating veal, don’t despair, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Veal can be replaced with lamb shank (morals are personal, we won’t judge… 🙂 ) ,pork shanks or even thick cut lamb/pork loin chops.

This dish really needs a LOT of time: to ensure the falling of the bone stew you want, you need to cook it slowly, so making it the night before and letting it develop its magical flavours while you sleep, is the best option. If this is not possible you can cook it for a good 2 hours or so…

Recipe and Ingredients for 4:

4 veal shanks (check the size to determine portions)
100 g butter or olive oil
2 tsp sugar
2 large carrots, cubed
2 large onions, finely chopped
250 g baby button mushrooms
2 celery sticks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes
25 ml tomato paste
1 cup red wine
250 ml beef stock ( try nomu or ina paarman liquid stock)
2 bay leaves
Leaves of 5 sprigs thyme

Zest of 2 lemons, juice of half
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Handfull chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Fresh pasta, mash or polenta to serve

Using a ovenproof pot, Brown the veal in the oil/ butter. Remove from the pot. Add the onions, garlic, celery, mushrooms and carrots. Fry till the onion becomes transluscent. Sprinkle with sugar and cook till the sugar has dissolved. Add the wine, stock, tomato and spices. Season with salt and pepper. Return the veal to the pot, cover with a tight fitting lid and transfer to the oven. Cook at 180 degrees for about 2 hours, checking every now and then. If the meat starts falling of the bone, it is done. Alternatively, cook overnight (for 6-8 hours) at 100 degrees celsius.

For the gremolata, just combine all the ingredients.

Serve the stew on fresh pasta topped with a teaspoon of the gremolata. You can also serve it with some creamy polenta or mash.