Winter is the perfect time for starting on slow braises. Traditionally Ossobuco is made with veal shins but can also be made with beef shins (which is what I used). The flavour is so beautifully rich and gets better with age so make a double batch and freeze it for an easy dinner!
My favourite part of Ossobuco is taking the bones and sucking out the marrow. I air no pretenses or pretend to be elegant when doing it. It's pure, unbridled lust and I don't care who sees me or thinks that it's just inappropriate. I get into a zone and the world could collapse around me. Better still Mr NQN doesn't care for it so I get all the marrow in a batch of ossobuco!
I was tempted to play with the recipe. In its traditional form, ossobuco are cross cut veal shin bones cooked in a rich tomato and wine based sauce and topped with herby gremolata. It's a Milanese dish and it is often served atop risotto alla milanese or creamy polenta. I had a lot of polenta so I decided to go with that. I left it for Mr NQN for when I went away travelling with the strict instructions that he had to eat it or else. Sometimes he doesn't finish what I give him (mostly out of laziness and not bothering to eat, IKR!!!) and I despair because I would have loved to have eaten it. I needn't have worried. This batch gave him enough for five days away.
So here is my recipe, with little to no diversions from a classic Milanese Ossobuco. I know I tend to change things up and try to make things "extra" but really it needs no alterations. Making things a bit extra is a terrible habit of mine. I figure why do things just ok when you can make them sparkle with a bit of extra effort. Which is not often appreciated by some but understood by others.
And here's a gif that pretty much sums me up. How about you Dear Reader, are you a bit extra too? Do you tend to stick to classic recipes or do you try and make them a bit special? And do you like sucking the marrow out of bones?
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
- Oil for frying
- 1/3 cup plain all purpose flour
- 4 ossobuco bones (around 1 kilo)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 1/4 cup white wine
- 660g/23ozs. diced tomatoes
- Small handful basil
- 200g/7ozs. mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup parsley and basil, chopped
- 1/2 garlic clove, peeled and diced
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup polenta
- 4 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons chicken stock powder
- 1 cup grated reggiano cheese
Step 1 - Heat a cast iron pot on medium heat and let it come to temperature. Place the flour in a shallow dish and dredge the osso bucco pieces in it coating on all sides. Add oil to the pot and brown the pieces on all sides. Then add the onion and carrots (adding more oil if needed) and saute until softened. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Then add white wine, tomatoes and basil and place the osso bucco pieces back into the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook with the lid on for 30 minutes.
Step 2- Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Place the pot with the lid on and bake for 30 minutes. Add the mushrooms in and stir and place the lid back on and bake for another 1 hour until the meat is tender but still stays on the bone.
Step 3 - In the meantime make the gremolata and polenta. To make the gremolata, mix the herbs, garlic and lemon zest in a bowl.
Step 4 - To make the polenta, heat the milk in a large pot until simmering. Add stock powder and then pour polenta in a thin stream to ensure that there aren't any lumps. Keep stirring and once the polenta becomes thick and creamy add the cheese. Keep warm on the stove adding more water if needed.