Osso Bucco: The Perfect Dinner Party Dish

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Sometimes I like to remind my husband that I can cook more than just the simple dinner that I make for the kids. I mean, I’m pretty sure that when the kids come to ask me “Mom! What’s for dinner?” if I say “Osso Bucco,” then I can say with certainty they’re going to go “eeeewww!!!” and “yuckkkk!!!” But if my husband asks me what’s for dinner and I say “Osso Bucco,” I can say with certainty he’s gonna be pretty happy. It’s one of his favorite dishes! 

It’s one of those things that you usually only see in Italian restaurants as a special on a Friday or Saturday night, and that’s for good reason.  It takes time and some effort to make… but let me just say that when done the right way- you’re gonna have some happy customers (i.e. your family) with smiles on their faces!

This is also the perfect dish to try if you’re having friends over for a dinner party and you’re really looking to impress them! It’s full of flavor. It’s hearty. Its absolutely DIVINO! as the Italiano’s would say. It’s an old school dish that’s delish! 

Osso Bucco 

Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 to 3 pounds veal shanks (4 to 6 pieces, 2-3 inches thick)
  • 2-3 small diced carrots
  • 3 small diced celery stalks
  • 1 medium onion, diced small 
  • 4 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme 
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1-2 cups chicken
  • 1 can diced plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbs. tomato paste
  • Flour for dusting the meat before browning
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. chili pepper flakes

 

Preparation

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Heat a dutch oven or large oven safe pan on the stove top over medium heat.  Add your vegetables and garlic with 1/2 of your oil.  Reserve the other half.  Cook down for about 5 minutes until the carrots are tender and the onions are translucent.  Transfer to your oven safe pan. 

Season the veal shanks with salt & pepper. Dredge the shanks in some flour (make sure you season your flour with salt and pepper as well)  and shake off any excess flour.  

Turn up the heat to medium high heat and add remaining olive oil.  Brown shanks on either side…. should take about 5-7 minutes per side. Place shanks on top of veggies that you have already sauteed.  

In the same pan you’ve cooked in- it’s time to de-glaze.  That’s the fancy word for getting all the flavor and goodness off of the bottom of the pan!  Take your white wine and pour it into the pan.  Allow it to bubble and scrape up all the goodie bits off the bottom.  

Add the chicken stock, thyme tomato paste and tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Pour over the browned veal shanks and sprinkle the chili flakes on top (optional). 

Cover tightly with aluminum foil and cook for 2 hours.  Checking half way through to make sure that there is enough liquid in there. 

This step is completely optional… I happen to do it this way though – I remove the shanks very carefully- they will be so tender they will fall off the bone.  I set aside and I take the remaining liquid and stew veggies and I put them in a blender or use my hand blender to emulsify everything.  I then put the shanks back in and cover it with the puree.  

Serve with polenta or risotto.  

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