January is always dubbed The Budget Month, as people tighten their belts after weeks of holiday extravagance, and turn to pantry staples for their dinners. I'm all for that, believing there is a time and a season for everything, so I don't expect anyone to rush out and purchase a brown paper package of fresh veal shanks upon reading this recipe.
But you should. Oh, trust me, it would be the best thing you've done all year.
Now before I lead you to think that we have thrown frugality to the winds at Under the High Chair, let me assure you, we are eating basic home cooking along with the rest of you this month. This particular Ossobuco feast was enjoyed back in December; in fact, it rather kicked off a slew of dinner parties that lasted for two weeks straight and only came to a screeching halt as we said adieu to 2009.
What a shame.
It may or may not surprise you that I have never prepared ossobuco before, well from scratch, anyway. Sure I served about 87 plates of it during my One Night With Rocco (DiSpirito), but that was merely a heat n' shave truffles n' serve kind of deal, as he flew the ossobuco in from NYC already cooked (no comment).
Ever since we purchased a calf (and the Beef Chronicles were born), I've had the lovely veal shanks in my freezer, just waiting to fulfill their destiny and give me a chance to make ossobuco.
Of course, rebellious me didn't want to go the traditional route with tomatoes & red wine, but instead chose a recipe from my beloved River Cafe Cookbook for a 'White' ossobuco that uses anchovies, white wine and celery instead.
We loved every morsel. I served it with the traditional Risotto Milanese (that had been perfumed with fresh-bought saffron) and we were in carnivore heaven.
Sure, the bank account is a lot less padded after the holidays, but you may just want to start a change jar labeled 'Ossobuco Fund'. At least, that's the best idea I've got. There's no more shank in my freezer and I DO have to try the traditional way now, right?
Ossobuco in Bianco
From the River Cafe Cook Book
8 or more veal or beef ossobuco bones, at least 2 inches across
75g plain flour
salt and fresh ground pepper
2 tbs of olive oil
2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
4 celery sticks, washed, trimmed and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
9 salted anchovies
½ bottle dry white wine
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 300F
Dust each piece of ossoebuco meat with flour and salt and pepper.
In a large, heavy bottomed casserole dish or pot (I used a Dutch oven) melt half the butter and the oil and seal the ossobuco on each side.
Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.Pour the fat away for the pot, then add remaining butter and gently fry the celery and onion until they are soft but not too brown.
Add garlic and anchovies to the onion mixture and mash them together for a minute or 2 with a fork. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil and reduce a bit.
Carefully put the ossobuco back in the big pot, arranging the shanks to that they make on layer in the bottom of the pot. Scoop some of the celery/onion mixture on their tops.
Cut a circle out of parchment paper the size of the pot and cover ossobuco with it. Cover pot with lid and place in oven
Cook for at least 2 - 2.1/2 hours. Liquid will reduce and veal will become quite tender.
Mean while, prepare gremolata by stirring together the finely chopped garlic, lemon zest and chopped parsley.
Carefully transfer ossobuco to a serving platter and sprinkle with gremolata.
Serve with Risotto Milanese.
More Beef Chronicles:
In Which we Buy A Cow
Rib Steak With Red-Wine Butter
Rosemary-Garlic Marinated T-Bone
Sesame-Beef Lettuce Wraps
Beef Tacos with Salsa Cruda
Classic Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding
Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Purée
Steak au Poivre & Sweet Potato Fries