Recipe: Osso Buco w/ Gremolata
Last night I made (and ate) Osso Buco for the first time and it came out great (though I have nothing to compare it to) so thought I’d share my recipe here.
One thing I have learned as I’ve started to cook “complicated” recipes (versus my go-to but much beloved italian red meat sauce, which I learned was decidedly not bolognese and which many friends referred to as “S’auce-um”) was that the base is everything. For instance when I make roux for my etouffe, instead of using vegetable oil I render bacon fat and then infuse garlic into some homemade clarified butter and mix the roux with that. I mean how are you going to go wrong with butter, garlic and bacon as a base??? Everything after that is, wait for it, gravy.
So I took that to heart as you will see in the recipe that follows.
Calories to follow
For the Osso Buco:
6 Beef Shanks up to 1" Thick. (I know people generally like veal yet i have a mild ethical issue but also since I like red vs white and beef broth vs chicken the delicate flavor of veal might not stand up.)
4–6oz Pancetta (however sold in supermarket)
1 White or Yellow Onion Large
3 Carrots Large
6 Cloves of Garlic
2 Cups Red Wine (Sangiovese, Chianti, etc)
Pint of mixed tomatoes (grape, yellow, etc)
Sprig of Fresh Thyme
Sprig of Fresh Rosemary
1 Bay Leaf
Handful of Parsley
2–4 Cups Homemade Beef Broth (see below)
1–2 Marrow Bones (use from the marrow bones for the bone broth described below)
For the Gremolata
1/2 Cup of Parsley
2 Cloves of Garlic
For the Bone Broth:
Beef Kneck and/or Knuckle Bones
2 Stalks Celery
2 Cloves Garlic
3–5 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
Start the Bone Broth 3–4 days ahead since you want it to cook for 36 plus hours and also refrigerator overnight so you can skim the fat
Heat Overn to 400
Put the marrow/bones on a sheet of tin foil along with roughly cut carrots, celery and garlic. Sprinkle with oil and salt and olive oil and roast for around 30–45 minutes.
Reserve two marrow bones for the Osso Buco later
Put the remaining bones/vegetables/garlic into a slow-cooker (or dutch oven). Add enough water to cover the bones and the cider vinegar.
Cook on low for 36 hours.
Strain over colander to get rid of vegetables/bones and throw them out.
Strain the liquid over cheese cloth.
In the am the fat will rise ot the surface a a solid disk just cut it out.
Roughly dice the parsley
Roughly dice the garlic
Zest two lemons
Add these together and now finely dice everything
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and dice/mix together.
Pat dry the Osso Bucco and put them on a plate uncovered in the refrigerator overnight to allow them to dry. This will allow them to brown beautufully vs steaming as they do if wet.
Dice or food-process the onion, celery and carrots separately.
Peel and add the garlic to your food processor if you have one and add some olive oil to make a puree. If not chop 4–5 cloves roughly and then put on a small dish with a few tablespoons of Olive Oil. Chop and then use a fork to press it into an olive oil garlic paste.
While it is beyond scope her to explain how to make clarified butter plenty of recipes are online for the same. In addition you can buy ghee. The idea however is to put a hand crushed piece of garlic in during the process and then strain it out so when we use the butter (which now has a higher smoke point) to brown the meat, we won’t burn the garlic in the process.
Take the Osso Bucco out and salt/pepper both sides generously. We want them to get to room temperature before browning them. Dry, room temp and salted is the way to go.
Render the pancetta over medium heat so as not to burn, pressing on it repeatedly to get out all of the oil. Only some browned crispy pancetta should remain, remove those from the rendered oil.
When cool enough crush the pancetta into crumbles.
Add 4–5 tablespoons of the clariied butter to the pancetta oil.
Warm those and then scoop the marrow from the reserved roasted marrow bones into the pan and let that render to liquid.
Make a plate with the flour, add salt and pepper to that and toss to distribute/mix.
Dip each piece of Osso Buco into the flour and coat all over and shake excess off.
Turn the heat up on the butter/marrow/pancetta oil to medium-high.
Brown the Osso buco both sides in batches small enough to not crowd the pan which will create steam vs browning. 3–5 minutes per side to get a new brown.
Remove from pan and reserve.
In the same pan add your onions and cook until transclucent.
Add the carrots and celery and stir and cook for 3–5 minutes until well mixed.
Add the garlic paste and stir for 1–2 minutes lower heat so as not to burn garlic.
Make some room in the center and add two tablespoons of tomato paste. Searh that for a few moments then stir into the vegetables.
Add the wine slowly to the pan and deglaze to get all of the burned fond.
Reduce for 3–5 minutes.
Pour this whole mix into the Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven.
Add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and parsely to spice bag or boquet garni and stir in.
Put the Osso Buco on top.
Take the warm Beef Broth and Pour over the Osso Buco until they are submereged. Many people say 1/2 way up the sides, I’m not sure why as it is the liquid that makes the tough meat so tender.
Throw the tomatoes on top.
If slow cooking do so for 8 hours on low.
If Dutch Oven cooking in regular oven 3 hours at 325 is about right but keep checking. If the liquid gets to low in oven add beef broth. Rotate the meat as well.
When done take the Osso Buco out of the liquid and strain the vegetables into a colander. Mix a little flour and butter together into a large marble sized bal and add to the liquid and stir in. On a low to medium flame and reduce for 10–15 minutes.
You can serve with mashe potatoes, polenta or risotto. I chose Risotto Milanese.
In any event to plate:
Place the risottoa/polenta/potatoes in the center of the plate.
Place an Oscco Buco on top of that.
Spoon some thickend sauce over that.
Spoon some of the vegetable mash over that.
Add a few sprinkles off the gremolata on that.