This is the second post of this type. Like Brian, and many others, Chris likes to talk about food with me. I like to help him make his menu happen and as easy as possible. Now, Veal Osso Buco might seem difficult, but all you need is three things: Great Veal, Good Herbs and Vegetables, and some Time. Our Veal shanks for this popular dish are some of the best around. The majority of eateries sadly provide pre- cut, defrosted, low- quality shanks. I have seen them many times and always know when I am eating these insults to the delicate and delicious meat that a calf can supply. Our shanks arrive whole and are ONLY milk- fed, American unfrozen cuts of veal. This requires a whole lot more work than most butchers these days like to do, but it is quality or nothing else. Here is what they look like raw, cut to expose the wonderful marrow:
We take pride in an ingredient like this because of its fine quality. There may be cheaper out there in the supermarkets but if you are going to cook such a great meal, why cut corners or sacrifice for price? Our Veal Cutlets and Chops are also milk- fed and are an equally lucious pink. The Veal we use to slice is only from the hip where it is a small area of delicious meat that is my favorite to sear or fry.
Before I continue rambling, here is the story…
Chris and his family like great food. Chris and I, personally, share similar enjoyments like good steaks, wine, and slow- cooked meats like braciole and of course, VEAL OSSO BUCO. A beautiful marriage of meat, herb, vegetable, wine, and heat. We cook shanks a few times a week in our store and are they are extremely popular. When Chris wants to make his own at home, he comes to us. After all, if done right, there is nothing better than a home-cooked meal. The hours of braising veal shanks envelops the whole house in aromas that cannot be described with words. It is like waking up on a Sunday morning and right away you smell mom’s pot of sauce bubbling away. How many of us can close our eyes and get whisked back to our youth in seconds with such great aroma? I loved it and I know my future children will. This is not the first time Chris’ family has made this meal with my guidance and it will certainly not be the last.
We provided his family with most of the ingredients necessary for a delicious dinner:
Veal shanks- cut into portions perfectly for each member of the family.
Vegetables- celery, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, etc.
Herbs- bay leaf and fresh rosemary
Also, great D.O.P. San Marzano plum tomatoes
Chris added ingredients he already had at home like wine, flour, etc.
Contrary to popular belief, this is simple to make. I like to dredge my Veal Shanks in well- seasoned All Purpose Flour. Next, brown the shanks on all sides in a hot pan with butter and a little olive oil. When the shanks are a nice golden- brown, take them out, and de-glaze the pan with white wine. Dredging not only makes a light crust around the veal but helps flavor and thicken the sauce a bit. De-glazing the pan with white wine (I prefer a nice dry white wine with the veal, red, in my opinion, is too bold for this meat) helps pick up all the concentrated flavors in the pan that the veal, flour, butter, and oil provide. If you have the pleasure of a nice, thick- bottomed pot (best would be cast iron) or dutch oven, then you can just throw the rest of the ingredients right in with the all that juice and continue the cooking right in there. If you do not, just transfer everything to a deep baking pan.
Next, add all the vegetables. This simple version contains the “usual suspect” vegetables I named above. A little more wine is required, some stock (preferable veal but chicken stock can pass), Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt, pepper, the herbs go in (some like to encase them in cheese cloth so they give flavor but are easily removed, I do not do this), the San Marzano tomatoes need a little squeeze before they join the party, and finally, back in go the shanks. Do not forget to include all that reduced wine with the scrapings from the browning of the veal. Putting a cover on top will help the cooking process along and will not let the top of all the vegetables and veal from burning if they poke out from the braising liquid. This is the last step. Yes, that’s right, that is all you have to do. Place your pot or pan in an oven preheated to 375degrees. The result will be a melt- in- your mouth piece of meat and flavors and aromas of a slow- cooked masterpiece.
In a few hours, your hard work will be rewarded with one of the best examples of “comfort food” that exists. There are many different ways to cook Osso Buco. Some add citrus, fresh fennel, etc. In Milan, Osso Buco is usually served with Milanese- style Risotto which contains Zafferano (Saffron). But, a nice bed of Fresh Papardelle pasta underneath is my favorite way to serve it (our homemade papardelle is the best around).
Here is Chris’ dinner, doesn’t it make you want to eat your monitor? 🙂
Try this dish yourself sometimes. I usually have those beautiful Veal Shanks in stock, but if you call, I will make sure I have them and will cut them fresh for you.
And, do not forget to eat the marrow, it is probably the best part. Do not be squeamish, trust me, it is a decadent treat like none other.
Thank you Chris for the photo, I am glad it went well and look forward to helping along with your next meal.