ALTERNATIVE OSSO BUCO
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ cups onions finely chopped
- ½ cup carrots finely chopped
- ½ cup celery finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic finely chopped
- 6 to 7 pounds meaty veal shanks cut into 2 ½-inchpieces*
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 cup dry white wine
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ¾ cup chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 cups canned whole tomatoes drained
- 6 parsley sprigs — coarsely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
- 1 teaspoon garlic finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
- In a heavy shallow casserole with a tight cover, just large enough tosnugly hold the pieces of veal standing up in one layer, melt the butter overmoderate heat. When the foamsubsides, add the chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetablesare lightly colored. Remove the casserole from the heat.
- Season the pieces of veal with salt and pepper, then roll them in flourand shake off the excess. ((Theseare the original instructions; usually I am hurrying when I am making this; so,I shake the veal pieces in a baggie into which I have put the seasoned flour.)
- In a heavy 10 to 12-inch skillet, heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil until ahaze forms over it. Brown the vealin the oil over moderately high heat, 4 or 5 pieces at a time, adding more oilas needed. Transfer the brownedpieces to the casserole and stand them side by side on top of the vegetables.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Now discard almost all of the fat from the skillet, leaving just a thinfilm on the bottom. Pour in thewine and boil it briskly over high heat until it is reduced by half, in thiscase, until reduced to about one-half cup . Scrape in any browned bits clinging to the pan.
- Stir in the stock, basil, thyme, tomatoes, parsley sprigs and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then pour it all over the veal. The liquid should come halfway up the side of the browned pieces of vealyou have placed in the casserole; if it does not, add more stock/liquid.
- Bring the casserole to a boil on top of the stove. (Monitor to avoidburning on the bottom during this step.) Coverand bake in the lower third of the oven, basting occasionally and regulating theoven heat to keep the casserole simmering gently. In about 1 hour and 15 minutes the veal should be tender; test it bypiercing the meat with the tip of a sharp knife.
- To serve arrange the pieces of veal on a heated platter and spoon thesauce and vegetables from the casserole around them. Sprinkle the top with gremolata–a piquant garnish made by mixing the grated lemon rindand chopped garlic and parsley together. Pass extra gremolata also. OssoBuco is traditionally served with Risotto allaMilanese.
YIELD: Serves6. *Buy center slices, about one and a half inches across. These will have a fair amount of meat but also some marrow. Slices from the narrow end have little meat; those from the thick end contain little marrow. — Look for “natural” veal, that is from calves allowed some room to roam and sometimes even raised alongside the mother, which I refer to as “alternative veal.” This is usually a little darker in color and a bit more intense in flavor but an excellent choice for this slow-cooking dish. This recipe has been kitchen tested. (adapted from Time-Life’s International Series, Cooking of Italy) Related recipes from a recent article in the New York Times,click here on White Veal Stew with Mushrooms, Corn and Sherry or on Veal, Sausage and Lima BeanStew with Lemony Greens. (Don’t gag, you can use dried lima beans whichare preferable to those other unmentionable items for some of us.)