Friday, June 5, 2015

Free Range Friday ~ Osso Bucco

My brother likes to play with food as much or more than I do. He also has a very twisted sense of humor and enjoys visually torturing me with photos of food that he knows I can't get here. The flip side is we usually go out for or cook those very same foods when we're together, so I guess it balances out. Sort of.

This morning's torture was an ad from Penn Dutch for lamb shanks, on sale for 1.99 a pound, with once sentence. "You should be here." Well, I will be there, but the sale will be over. Too bad for him, we'll get some anyway and make osso bucco. Yes, I know it is traditionally made with veal shanks but I like lamb more than veal and the dish can take the stronger flavors, so there!
lamb shank

Flash Sale 
Lamb Shank
 Regularly $4.99/lb
Now $1.99/lb with this coupon
Of course, that led me to look up osso bucco recipes, because I've only made it once before by myself (a few times with a cooking friend, but she was the lead and I was the prep person, so it isn't the same). Even though it's a basically simple dish (and supposedly more of a winter thing), it takes some patience, but oh so worth it!

Traditionally, osso bucco (meaning bone with hole in it, it's all about the marrow) is made without tomatoes, which is fine by me, but finding a recipe without them wasn't happening. I'll know the results of this particular recipe when I get to the states but for now, it sounds good to me!

Ok, Jonny, the gauntlet is thrown down!

Osso Bucco (adapted from Dellalo and The Guardian)


  • 4 (3-inch-thick) lamb shanks, a bit more than 1 pound each (have your butcher cut the shanks into three inch pieces, unless you have a meat saw and strong arms)
photo credit: Epicurious
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 3 ounces butter (3/4 stick)
  • 1 (2-ounce) slice pancetta - cut into small cubes (no pancetta? (you can use bacon, but if you can get lamb shanks, you can probably get pancetta (all about pancetta). Some recipes use butter only, without the pancetta, it's your call. I think it sounds like a good addition.
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups homemade or store bought stock (veal, beef or chicken)
Gremolada: (a fancy name for a very simple thing)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced  


With a sharp knife, make two vertical cuts in the thick skin that surrounds each ossobuco to prevent the meat from shrinking. Tie up each piece separately with kitchen string—very simply forming a cross—in order to keep the meat together. Season the shanks all over with salt and pepper. Lightly flour each ossobuco on both sides.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until brown. Remove the pancetta and set aside. Place the veal shanks in the pan, cook on high heat and brown the meat well on all sides. Remove the veal and set aside.
Turn the flame down to medium and add the onion, celery and carrot and sage leaves; gently braise for 8 minutes, until just softened. Return the pancetta to the pan and add the crushed tomatoes. Slowly add the wine and stock, Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Place the shanks back into the sauce and reduce heat to a low simmer.
The slow braising should take approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone. Turn the meat repeatedly, adding some broth if the sauce gets too thick. Taste for salt and pepper half way through, add if needed.  Remember to frequently mix the sauce with a wooden spoon, and baste the meat occasionally.
To make the gremolada, loosely mix parsley, lemon and garlic. Once the veal is fully cooked, place a bit of gremolada inside each hole, where the marrow has almost completely dissolved. Serve this dish with Risotto Milanese.
Serves 4

This is usually served with saffron risotto, polenta or  saffron rice. A light salad would also go well with it. Good luck and buen provecho!

Have a flowing feast of a Friday. Do something favorable.

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