The temperatures are dropping and we are very excited to serve big bowls of piping hot stew, spicy soups and comfort dishes that that take a little longer to cook. With a little less to do outside we are going to do just that, focus on recipes that cook low and slow and let them sit and simmer!

Osso buco is a great winter dish. When you think of it, you most likely think of Osso Buco alla Milanese, a fabulous recipe from Milan, Italy. Traditionally, this dish is prepared with braised veal shanks, sweet vegetables and a fragrant white wine. Veal shanks tend to be a little pricey, but substituting a pork or beef shank will reduce the cost and be just as delicious. We have even tried boneless chicken thighs!!!!

This is a dish we have made many, many times over the years when entertaining, as it can be assembled early in the day and then popped into the oven for a couple of hours before you are ready to serve. Once the dish is prepped and in the pot, it really takes care of itself, slowly braising the meat in the sauce until it becomes so tender it falls right off the bone. Right before serving be sure to swirl into the pot a sprinkle of the gremolata mixture. The addition of these flavors is quite surprising and brightens the dish to perfection.

Traditionally we serve this rich dish over creamy risotto or Joy’s favorite polenta, but mashed potatoes can be just as satisfying. If there are any leftovers, the meat can be shredded and tossed with any type pasta for another meal! Enjoy!!

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Osso Buco

A traditional Italian treasure, this recipe is one of Judy’s and my favorites, which we prepare often for our family and friends. Enjoy!

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 dry bay leaf

2 whole cloves

3 shanks, veal or beef

sea salt & pepper

all purpose flour, for dredging

 

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, diced

1 small carrot, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup dry white wine

3 cups chicken stock

 

Gremolata

Gremolata is a traditional Italian condiment made from finely minced parsley, garlic and lemon zest. It’s a nice way to wake up a heavy, meaty, braised dish, which is why it’s usually served with braised veal shanks.

3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 garlic clove, chopped

Prepare gremolata by combining all chopped ingredients; dust the Osso Buco with gremolata after it it plated.  It’s just so scrumptious!

 

For the osso buco:

Tie together the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf with twine, set aside. This will be the herb bouquet. For the shanks, pat dry with paper towels; they will brown better if they are dry. Season each piece with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour, then shake off the excess.

In a large pot, heat the oil and butter until very hot and brown the shanks on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove shanks and set aside.

In this same pot, add the onion, carrot and celery. Season with salt. Saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomato paste and mix well. Return the shanks to the pot and add the wine and reduce the liquid by about half, about 5 minutes. Add the bouquet and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover pan. Simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until meat falls off the bone. Keep checking and turning shanks every 15 minutes or so. You can add a little more stock if needed. The cooking liquid should always be 3/4 of the way on the shank.

When Osso Buco is done, remove the bouquet and remove the shanks. At this point you can blend the sauce vegetables with a hand blender. Always taste and re-season. Enjoy!

 

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