This is a warming winter dish and perfect to serve for a romantic Valentine’s meal. Osso Buco is traditionally made with veal shanks. You can, however, use this recipe with great success with regular beef shanks, or any beef or veal stew meat as well. Use 2-2 ½ pounds of stew meat. Make sure to use grassfed or pastured raised meat.
This recipe is inspired by my good cooking friend, Dara Merin, of The Sage Table. Thanks, Dara, for your inspiration!
If you use shanks, you can tie the rounds in order to keep the meat attached to the bone during the long simmering process. Using butcher twine, tie a piece of twine around the thickest portion of each shank before it is browned. It will likely fall off at some point during the stewing process, or you can remove it before serving. Remember that the marrow inside the bone is edible, and particularly delicious and good for you. Like benefits like and marrow is good for your own marrow and bones. This recipe is inspired by my good cooking friend, Dara Merin, of The Sage Table. Thanks, Dara, for your inspiration!
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, butter or coconut oil
- 6 grassfed veal shanks , 1 ½ inches thick (8 to 10 ounces each), patted dry with paper towels and tied with butcher’s twine
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ½ cups dry white wine
- 2 onions, diced (about 2 cups)
- 2 medium carrots, diced (about 1½ cups)
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 can whole peeled or diced tomatoes, with juice, chopped or crushed if whole
- (up to) 2 cups of chicken or beef broth, or water, as needed
- zest of half a lemon
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
- about 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat 1-2 tablespoon of the oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sprinkle both sides of the shanks generously with salt and pepper to taste. Place as many shanks as fit in a single layer in the pan and cook until they are golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, flip the shanks and cook on the second side until golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the shanks to a bowl (or plate) and set aside.
- Lower the heat to medium and return the pot to the heat. Add ½ cup of the wine to the Dutch oven, scraping the pan bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Pour the liquid into the bowl with the browned shanks.
- You might have browned all of the shanks, but if not, return the pot to medium-high heat, add more oil, and heat until shimmering. Brown the remaining shanks, about 5 minutes for each side. Transfer the shanks to the bowl, and add another 1 cup of the wine to the pot, scraping the bottom to loosen the browned bits. Pour the liquid into the bowl with the shanks.
- Set the pot back over medium heat. Heat more oil until shimmering and add the onions and carrots and about ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 9 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute longer.
- Increase the heat to high and stir in the remaining cup of wine, accumulated veal juices in the bowl, and bay leaves and thyme. Add the tomatoes first, without their juices and return the veal shanks to the pot. The liquid should just cover the shanks, so add some of the tomato juices and a bit of water or stock if needed to just about cover them.
- Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook in the oven for an two and a half hours to three hours, stirring from time to time, until the meat is very tender. An hour into the cooking, add the lemon zest.
- Stir together Gremolata ingredients in a small bowl.
- When you check and the meat is very tender, remove the pan from the oven. If you would like to thicken the sauce, place the pot on high heat on the stovetop, and cook until the sauce is reduced by half and thick enough to cling to the meat, stirring frequently to prevent the sauce from burning at the bottom of the pot. Taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if needed. Using tongs, remove the shanks from the pot, cut off and discard the twine, and place 1 veal shank in each of 6 bowls. Ladle some of the braising liquid over each shank and sprinkle each serving with some of the gremolata. This is delicious served with polenta or roasted vegetables. Serve immediately.