70-30 has always been my motto in the kitchen. If we eat as healthy as we can for 70% of the time then we deserve a little indulgence on the weekends.
Next week I am participating in and catering for a 2-week cleanse. What my husband does not realize is that he will also be participating in the cleanse because I am not preparing two separate meals. So, before I set him on a gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, predominately vegetarian (minus all night-shade vegetables) diet I figured it would only be fair to make him one of his favorite manly meals.
The funny thing is that even though Osso Bucco is one of those meals that “sticks to your bones” and satisfies our carnivore cravings, it is not that unhealthy! Plus, I can think of nothing more satisfying on a cold winter’s night than sitting down to a meal that has been slowly stewing away for hours. And since many of you are still in the depths of winter (while we are enjoying glorious spring here in the S of F – don’t hate us!) this seemed like a nice recipe to share.
Osso bucco is the Italian term for a veal shank and there are many ways you can prepare one – all of which involve long, slow cooking to tenderize an otherwise tough meat. However, the term osso bucco has become synonymous with the most traditional form of preparation which involves a tomato and wine based broth and is usually accompanied by risotto.
I have tried many different recipes for cooking a veal shank but some times tradition is best. This recipe is so easy it actually cooks itself! That sounds crazy but it’s not. The ingredients involved are pantry staples, the prep work is minimal and yet when you remove it from the oven after a couple hours (during which time you’ve been reading or spending way too much time on Facebook) you are greeted with the most mouth-watering meal!
So, with a countdown of less than 72 hours before our cleanse begins, I plan to make this lovely dish tomorrow night and enjoy some of that 30% indulgence. And when James is rubbing his belly and congratulating me on my efforts – that’s when I’ll tell him about the cleanse.
- ½ cup flour (optional)
- Salt and Pepper
- 6 large or 12 small veal shanks
- A couple glugs of olive oil
- 2-3 Tablespoons of butter
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 large can (28 oz/800g) canned tomatoes
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2 cups beef stock
- ½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1 minced garlic clove
- On a plate or shallow bowl combine the flour and salt and pepper. Dodge the veal shanks in the flour, tapping to remove the excess flour. If you are avoiding gluten this step can be skipped but otherwise the flour helps to brown the veal nicely.
- Heat a bit of oil and a pat of butter in a large pot or dutch oven and add the veal shanks. This will probably have to be done in batches. You do not want to overcrowd the pan because otherwise the meat will stew instead of browning. Brown the meat on both sides until nice and golden and remove.
- When all the meat has been browned and removed add another swig of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, basil and oregano and cook another minute, until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes and simmer over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Add the wine and simmer 10 minutes more.
- Add the beef broth and return the shanks to the pot. Bring to a simmer, Cover the pot and place in the oven for 1½ hours. Remove the lid and cook an additional half hour.
- Meanwhile combine the parsley, lemon zest and garlic.
- When serving, place the veal in a shallow bowl with risotto, spoon over the sauce and sprinkle the parsley mixture over the top.
- Serve with small spoons for those who want to eat the marrow out of the bone.