The Best Osso Bucco and… Flyin’ Shoes

I got a new lens for my camera! Can you tell? I sent my letter to Santa just in time LAST year but .. oh hum.. i’m still waiting for my presents. Is it.. is it because i don’t have a chimney? So this year i went ahead and bought a Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF to go with my Nikon D60. I tried it quickly and i’m kinda pleased with it although i still have to learn how to use it properly which, being the slacker that i am, should take me another 15 years. Pffeww… just the thought of it makes me hungry.

What about some Osso Bucco for dinner?

I’m curious. Am i a food snob or do you agree that many dishes sound better in the language of their country of origin? The poet in me still thinks escargot en persillade is much better sounding than snails in garlic butter, and peter will agree that loukoumades sounds better than donuts soaked in honey syrup. I bet the lovely Rita, whom i had the pleasure to meet recently, is more partial to bacalao than to salt cod. Now the real test is – can she work bacalao into a delicious cookie?

The funniest translation gone awry i encountered was ‘chicken without sexual life’ on a menu in Shanghai which, I was told, was an attempt at translating ‘poussin’ or young chicken (Tong Zi Ji). I’m yet to find a ‘chicken in a pink latex suit with a whip’ on a menu… Now i want some of THAT for dinner!

I started to wonder if the classic Italian Osso Bucco could be translated into english and still sound delicious. So i asked Big Bossman if he wanted some.. err.. Hole-Bone for dinner the other night. Here was his answer:

err.. I didn’t think it would work anyway… :-)

I guess some things better never change. This is a fantastic Osso Bucco recipe by the way, follow the link for a soft polenta recipe and enjoy!

This recipe was featured on Serious Eats.

Osso Bucco

(serves 4)

  • 4 pieces veal shank with bone, cut 3 inches thick
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • a pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1/2 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 strip lemon zest
  • 2 cups veal or chicken stock GREMOLATA:

  • grated rind of 1 lemon (or 1 orange)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic


  • Preheat the oven to 375’F. Season both sides of the osso bucco with salt and pepper. In a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven, over medium flame, heat the oil. Sear the shanks on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the browned veal shanks and set aside.

  • Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic to the pan and cook until softened and begins to caramelize. Add the tomato and tomato paste and cook until the tomato soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir until well combined.

  • Add the wine and deglaze the pan, let the wine evaporate, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the orange juice, the chicken or veal stock and the saffron (if using). Bring to a simmer and return the browned shanks to the pot. Add the bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, lemon zest and fennel seeds and coat the osso bucco nicely in the sauce. Return the mixture to gentle simmer.

  • Cover the pot and place in the preheated oven for about 2 hours. Flip the meat over at halftime to ensure even cooking. When the meat falls of the bone, it’s ready. Remove the shanks and reduce the sauce. The sauce can be passed through a food mill, or not.
  • For gremolata: combine all ingredients together in a small bowl. Strew the gremolata over the osso buco before serving.

Serve osso bucco with soft polenta or risotto and don’t forget to dig in the marrow with a small spoon, sprinkled with sea salt and spread on toasted country bread – it’s heaven!

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  • Colloquial Cook

    Done, eaten and approved. Even better the next day, as usual. Couldn’t be bothered with stirring the polenta so I served it with pappardelle, much more low maintenance (which really doesn’t say anything about me obviously)
    My butcher still doesn’t deem it necessary to tie his shoe laces around the veal shank slices.