A few weeks ago, our butcher at the markets, had Osso Buco on special, so we bought a pack of four. In total, the pack weighed just under two kilos, there was some large bones, of course, but still plenty of meat. When I was younger, I had an aversion to bone-y-meat-y pieces of meat, I was just a bit put off by bone or marrow. But now, knowing the health benefits of bone broths and marrow, I have dipped my toe into making Osso Buco for the first time.
The recipe came from "The food Of Italy" one of my first ever, proper, recipe books I bought for myself, too many years ago to remember exactly when. It is well used and leafed through not only because of the wonderful recipes but also because of the photos. Really splendid, real food photos, just like I would imagine you would take yourself on a holiday in Italy. I cook many recipes from this great recipe book-Tiramisu, Eggplant Parmigiana, Garlic Prawns and Oven Dried Tomatoes to name a few.
So, last Sunday morning, before we left for the day, I started off this wonderful dish. Firstly I dusted the pieces of meat in flour, salt and pepper, I used a clip lock container to "dust" the pieces of Osso Buco in, then I browned the meat in a melted butter, oil and two whole cloves of garlic, until golden brown and well sealed. Put the meat into the bowl of the slow cooker. White wine, a lemon leaf or bay leaf, allspice and cinnamon is then added along with 3/4 cup of water. I cooked the Osso Buco for 6 hours on low until the meat was meltingly tender. I removed the meat from the bones, keeping the bones for later and put on a serving dish and foiled it to keep warm. To make a super delicious sauce, you can scrape the remaining juices into a smallish saucepan or do as I did and just increased the heat on the slow cooker (if your slow cooker has that function) either way you just stir or whisk until the sauce is thick and then add a gremolata of lemon zest, garlic and parsley, season with salt and pepper and pour this magnificent sauce over the soft and unctuous meat. If marrow is your thing, when you serve yourself some meat and sauce, remove the marrow from a bone and stir this into the gravy on your plate, it just adds a beautiful richness.
Ingredients for Osso Buco Alla Milanese, clockwise from bottom left-approximately 2 kg's of Osso Buco, 1/2 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and allspice, 250 ml of white wine, a splash of oil and 40 grams of butter, a lemon leaf or bay leaf and 2 cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
Dust Osso Buco in seasoned flour
Heat a good heavy based, non stick frypan to medium heat, add oil and butter and let butter melt. Add the garlic and toss to flavour the oil but don't let it colour. Brown meat well on both sides
Then add to the bowl of the slow cooker along with the white wine, garlic cloves and lemon or bay leaf. At this point, also add about 125 ml of water. Put lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. Keep an eye on the slow cooker as it may need extra water added. Mine didn't but I am mindful that every slow cooker is different
For the gremolata you will need a lemon, a garlic clove and a small handful of parsley
Zest the lemon
Finely mince the garlic clove
And finely chop the parsley
Combine in a bowl and set aside for later
After 6 hours remove meat and keep warm. I also removed the meat from the bones at this point
Either scrape and pour the lovely sauce into a saucepan and heat to medium or keep the sauce in the slow cooker bowl and turn heat up on slow cooker, now add the gremolata and whisk until shiny, smooth and thick. The flour that you dusted the Osso Buco in will thicken the sauce.
Serve the gorgeous sauce over tender, falling apart meat
I served ours with mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and a slice of lemon to squeeze over the top
So comforting and warming, using really simple ingredients, it's a lovely dish.