Osso Buco in winter has one of the most perfectly matched meal-to-season ratios ever developed. The blissful and simple aroma of celery, onion, carrot and garlic simmering with tomatoes and cosseting a tender, delicate but satisfying veal and marrow bone combo is the definition of kitchen cozy. The satisfying flavor, delicate and robust simultaneously, is a cook’s gift. The diners’ pleasure just might be one of the most perfect winter sports.
I like to make this braise in the oven but it is equally at home on the top of the stove. You can use the same sturdy oven-proof casserole for either. it will take about the same time and the same amount of basting. Experiment. Find your own favorite because you’ll be making this delicious meal again. And again.
One more thing: remind your guests to save their marrow bones for last. mmmm.
4 tablespoons La Castellina Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Vermont Butter and Cheese unsalted butter
6 pieces of veal shank about 2-1/2 inches thick
¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt and 5-6 grinds of fresh black pepper
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 trimmed and chopped celery stalks
1 chopped fat carrot
1 large minced garlic clove
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
1 28-oz can of peeled Pastoso Italian tomatoes and their juices, mashed
1-1/2 cups of warm broth—veal, chicken or beef
¼ teaspoon dried or 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
If you’re going to braise in the oven, now is the time to heat it to 350-degrees. Mix the flour, salt and pepper and dredge the meat in it. Shake off excess flour.
Melt the oil at medium-high heat in a casserole large enough to hold all the veal in a one layer. Add the butter and when it finishes foaming turn the heat to medium and add the veal. Make sure the pieces do not touch each other. Brown them lightly on all sides, remove them from the casserole and cover with aluminum foil.
Add the onion, celery and carrot and saute together until they soften a bit. Add the garlic and continue sautéing until it gets just a hint of color. Add the wine and continue cooking over medium heat and scraping the casserole bottom until all the bits of meat clinging to the casserole have dissolved. Add the stock, tomatoes and thyme.
Put the veal back in the casserole and spoon some of the sauce over it.
This is where your big oven-or-stove-top decision comes in. You can either put it in a 350-degree oven and roast for 1-1/2 to 2 hours checking every half hour or so and spooning sauce over the meat until the meat is falling away from the bone.
Or you can braise on top of the stove starting with a boil and then bringing the heat down so that the pot maintains a simmer. If you’re choosing stove top make sure the liquid/veggie combo does not start out higher than halfway up on the veal.
Remove the veal from the casserole and tent with aluminum foil again. Taste the sauce and correct for salt and pepper if you need to. If the sauce is too thin boil it down on the top of the stove. Consistency should allow the sauce to cling a bit to the veal.
These ingredients can be found at Olde Hudson