The shank is cut crosswise, so each piece comes with a chunk of bone in it. My mother's favorite recipe for Osso Buco specifies that the shank should be sawed, not chopped. It's not hard to imagine that a farmer might have brought several pieces into the kitchen to be cooked. Most recipes call for six to eight pieces of veal shank. So I had to cut back and tweak to accommodate my little dinner for two.
While it seems like a lot of work, Osso Buco really isn't that all that difficult to make. To me, it seems like it breaks down into four basic steps. Chopping and cooking vegetables, browning the meat, making a sauce, combining and letting it cook in the oven. Not so hard, right? However, it bakes for an hour and fifteen minutes, plus you have to allow for a bit of reduction time, so it's a time intensive recipe, not like throwing steaks on the grill for a quick dinner. I skipped the step of tying the meat. That was very popular years ago, wasn't it? Tying food always brings to mind the blue soup in Bridget Jones's Diary! I just didn't see the point in it, and the meat turned out fine in spite of my little shortcut. The only change I might make is to add a little bit of flour to thicken the sauce if you happen to prefer a thicker sauce.
3 cloves garlic
1 celery stalk
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 large bay leaf
1 oven-safe casserole with a lid (It shouldn't be much larger than needed to accommodate the two pieces of meat.)
1 frying pan
Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Melt the butter in the casserole. When the foam subsides, add the veggies and cook until soft.
Salt and pepper the meat, and dredge through flour. Heat the olive oil in the frying pan and when very hot, brown the meat on both sides. Remove meat from pan and place on top of vegetables in the casserole.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Pour the white wine into the frying pan and deglaze the pan, scraping up any little bits on the bottom. Let the wine cook vigorously until reduced by about half. Add the chicken stock, the tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and pour over the meat in the casserole. It should come about half way up the meat. (If it doesn't, add more stock.)
Cover the casserole and slide into the oven. Cook at 350 for one hour and fifteen minutes.
Serve over rice, or, in my case spaetzle. The Spaetzle recipe is coming next week!
Before you fire up the grill --
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