Osso Bucco

I used British rose veal in this dish – and so should you. I’ll spare you the ethical reasons for choosing this meat (there’s a perfectly good article here if you’re not yet up to speed on the subject). All I’ll say is this – this meat is beautiful in both taste and texture and Osso Bucco is the perfect way too cook it – the bone marrow melts into the sauce adding a beautiful, sweet flavour – how can that be anything but perfect.

I bought my rose veal from these guys – hopefully it will become more popular and available in the supermarkets soon.

Osso Bucco, as I’m sure you know, means ‘bone with hole’. The dish is made with veal shank and the bone hole is where the magic happens – as I mentioned, the marrow melts down slightly into the sauce but with a decent sized piece of meat you’ll have plenty of marrow left in the bone to scrape out.. maybe smeared on a slice of bread.. oh my. A Northern Italian dish from the Milan region, served with either risotto or polenta. I fancied polenta – I think there’s something more comforting about a decent spoonful of polenta with parmesan stirred through it. I like my risottos as a lighter dish. But that’s just me.

What you’ll need to make Osso Bucco

  • 1 British rose veal shank per person
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot cubed
  • 1 stick celery, finely diced
  • 1 pint chicken stock
  • 3/4 bottle white wine (you know what to do with the other 1/4 right?)
  • Thyme, picked
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (canned tomatoes are fine as we’ll be cooking this for a good few hours)
  • Flour for dusting
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & black pepper.
For the polenta
  • 100g polenta
  • parmesan cheese
  • Salt & black pepper.

Pre-heat your oven to 180c.

Once you’ve prepared the veg, add them to a large pan with a glug of oil and sweat them down for 10 – 15 minutes until they’re softened. While the veg softens, season the veal and dust in flour. In a separate pan fry the shanks in hot oil, one at a time, giving a nice, browned edge. Put the shanks into the vegetable pan when they are done. Try to make sure veal doesn’t overlap so it helps if you have a large pan for this.

Pour the hot stock over the meat and add the wine (you may also want to deglaze the veal pan with a splash of wine and pour that into the pot). Add the tomatoes, bay and thyme. Cover the pot and place into the oven for 2 hours or so.  The meat should fall apart easily when pressed.

For the polenta, use 4 times the quantity of water to polenta – I used 100g polenta and 400ml hot water (salt the water before adding the polenta). Stir over a low heat. I like my polenta quite smooth so, the longer you stir it, the smoother it should be. You may need to add a splash more water if it starts to look dry but I would advise stirring it for 10 minutes or so – you don’t need to stir it continually but do keep an eye on it and work that texture. Once you’re happy with the consistency, add a handful of grated parmesan and a twist of black pepper.

A slight variation with this dish is to add some orange zest to the pan before it goes into the oven but either way this dish certainly benefits from a citrus twang somewhere along the way and this traditionally comes from spoonful of gremolata served sprinkled over the veal. My gremolata recipe can be found here.

This is a simple dish to cook but something magical happens to that sauce when the meat cooks down. Buy some British rose veal today and give this dish a go.

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By John Loydall

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