Sunday, June 1, 2008

Osso Buco

I love me some lamb every so often. Our friend just had her new baby and so I volunteered to bring her and her family a meal. After all, she brought us an entire Thanksgiving feast after Hayden was born. It took a while before I figured out what would be perfect for them. While we are a vegetarian family, they are major carnivores. So, that settled it. It's the perfect excuse for me to cook a giant pot of meat so I can get my meat fix and my friend and her family gets dinner.

I've made this recipe a few times before and it's very yummy. I think one reason why this recipe works is the use of fresh herbs. This was my bouquet garni.

This was my finished product packed in the fanciest Tupperware I could find. It doesn't look as good as the one on the food network website but I did the best I could with a white plastic box as my "decorative serving platter".

I also made some couscous and ravioli to complete the meal.

Happy Birthday, Joey. You are the cutest tiny baby I've ever held in my arms. (Kira and Hayden, don't get jealous. You guys were never tiny... though still cute.)

Here is the recipe. The only change I made was substitute lamb shanks for veal shanks. (Or click here for the link.)

1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 dry bay leaf
2 whole cloves
Kitchen twine, for bouquet garni and tying the veal shanks
3 whole veal shanks (about 1 pound per shank), trimmed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
All purpose flour, for dredging
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small carrot, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 stalk celery, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Place the rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and cloves into cheesecloth and secure with twine. This will be your bouquet garni.

For the veal shanks, pat dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Veal shanks will brown better when they are dry. Secure the meat to the bone with the kitchen twine. Season each shank with salt and freshly ground pepper. Dredge the shanks in flour, shaking off excess.

In a large Dutch oven pot, heat vegetable oil until smoking. Add tied veal shanks to the hot pan and brown all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove browned shanks and reserve.

In the same pot, add the onion, carrot and celery. Season with salt at this point to help draw out the moisture from the vegetables. Saute until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix well. Return browned shanks to the pan and add the white wine and reduce liquid by half, about 5 minutes. Add the bouquet garni and 2 cups of the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pan and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Check every 15 minutes, turning shanks and adding more chicken stock as necessary. The level of cooking liquid should always be about 3/4 the way up the shank.

Carefully remove the cooked shanks from the pot and place in decorative serving platter. Cut off the kitchen twine and discard.
Remove and discard bouquet garni from the pot.

Pour all the juices and sauce from the pot over the shanks. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon zest.

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