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.

OSSO BUCO

4 tablespoons butter
1 cups onions, finely chopped
cup carrots, finely chopped
cup celery , finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
6 to 7 pounds meaty veal shanks, cut into 2 -inch pieces*
Salt and freshly ground pepper 
Flour
cup olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
teaspoon dried basil
cup chicken stock
teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups canned whole tomatoes, drained
6 parsley sprigs -- coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves

  GREMOLATA

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

  PREPARATION

1.       In a heavy shallow casserole with a tight cover, just large enough to snugly hold the pieces of veal standing up in one layer, melt the butter over moderate heat.   When the foam subsides, add the chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are lightly colored.  Remove the casserole from the heat.

2.       Season the pieces of veal with salt and pepper, then roll them in flour and shake off the excess.  ((These are 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.)

3.       In a heavy 10 to 12-inch skillet, heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil until a haze forms over it.  Brown the veal in the oil over moderately high heat, 4 or 5 pieces at a time, adding more oil as needed.  Transfer the browned pieces to the casserole and stand them side by side on top of the vegetables.

4.       Preheat the oven to 350 F.

5.       Now discard almost all of the fat from the skillet, leaving just a thin film on the bottom.  Pour in the wine and boil it briskly over high heat until it is reduced by half, in this case, until reduced to about one-half cup .  Scrape in any browned bits clinging to the pan.

6.       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 veal you have placed in the casserole; if it does not, add more stock/liquid.

7.       Bring the casserole to a boil on top of the stove. (Monitor to avoid burning on the bottom during this step.)  Cover and bake in the lower third of the oven, basting occasionally and regulating the oven heat to keep the casserole simmering gently.  In about 1 hour and 15 minutes the veal should be tender; test it by piercing the meat with the tip of a sharp knife.

8.       To serve arrange the pieces of veal on a heated platter and spoon the sauce and vegetables from the casserole around them.  Sprinkle the top with gremolata--a piquant garnish made by mixing the grated lemon rind and chopped garlic and parsley together. Pass extra gremolata also.  Osso Buco is traditionally served with Risotto alla Milanese.

YIELD:  Serves 6.

*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.

You can find the above recipe by tapping here on the Home Cookin' index.

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 Bean Stew with Lemony Greens.  (Don't gag, you can use dried lima beans which are preferable to those other unmentionable items for some of us.)

You can find this and related recipes by tapping here on the Home Cookin' index.

 

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