ALTERNATIVE OSSO BUCO
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.
Shortcut OSSO BUCO
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 center-cut slices veal shank, 2 pounds or more
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 or 4 cloves garlic, lightly mashed and peeled
4 anchovy fillets
1 cup dry white wine, chicken or beef stock, or water
2 teaspoons butter, optional.
1. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. Add the oil, swirl it around, and pour out any excess. Add the veal slices and cook until nicely browned on the first side, about 5 minutes. (For even browning, you can rotate the slices, but try not to disturb them too much.) Turn and brown the other side.
2. When the second side is just about completely browned, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and add the garlic and anchovies to the pan. Cook, stirring a little, until the anchovies dissolve and the garlic browns, about 2 minutes. Add the liquid and let it bubble away for about a minute.
3. Turn the heat to low and cover the skillet. Five minutes later, check to see that the mixture is simmering — just a few bubbles appearing at once — and adjust the heat accordingly. Cook until the meat is very tender and pulling away from the bone, at least 90 minutes and probably somewhat more; turn the slices every half-hour or so. (When the meat is tender, you may turn off the heat and refrigerate the dish for up to 24 hours; reheat gently before proceeding.)
4. Remove the meat to a warm platter and turn the heat to high. Boil the sauce until it becomes thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter if you like, and serve the meat with the sauce spooned over it.
Yield: 4 servings.
Double click here for our favorite Osso Buco, which takes a bit longer, due to time consumed by chopping of vegetables and the Gremolata garnish at the end, but these are good additions if you have the time.
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