Heaven sends us good meat, but the Devil sends cooks. – David Garrick
|Old and new together.|
For example, I try (and need to try harder) to support local producers as opposed to the big chains whenever I can. I admit it’s far less often that I should. I do try to buy locally from the big grocers when I can, for what it’s worth.
|Photo: zayzayem, Flickr ccl|
I feel the same sort of way about veal, but they’re not raised wild, or even free range. They’re raised penned and slaughtered young. I used to eat veal, but can’t really bring myself to do it anymore. It’s cruel.
Veal is a “by-product” of the milk industry. Cows must have calves to lactate, but the calves don’t get to drink the milk very long. We do. “Milk-fed” veal calves are given a milk replacement rather than the more valuable saleable milk. Since male cattle do not give milk they are usually the ones that end up on the plate.
I actually had to stop watching the movie Food.Inc a few month’s ago – for a variety of reasons. I didn’t make it past the chicken farming. It was turning me completely off my dinner. Vegetarianism was looking better and better.
|Brown the shanks well.|
Well not in my kitchen. It’s beef shanks. The thing about the recipe is that it’s a slow cooked meat dish that allows the flavour from the bone and marrow to ooze out into the sauce. In the process the meat becomes unbelievably tender. It literally cooks off the bone.
So what’s old yet new, you may ask. Osso Bucco has been around since the 1800s. The original (veal was cheap and plentiful) was spiced with cinnamon and bay leaf. The sauce consisted of broth and reduced vegetables. It was Ossobucco in bianco, or white Osso Bucco. A modern version uses tomatoes.
Regardless, this is one of the tastiest dishes I make. I think I’m a passable cook, but the rating is based on the opinion of others. So it must be at least edible.
This recipe isn’t a quickie. It takes about 2-1/4 hours to achieve that desirable tenderness, but it’s well worth it. Traditional side dishes are mashed potatoes for the new version or Risotto alla milanese (onion, saffron, white wine) for the old. Take your pick.
As I write this the Osso Bucco has been on the stove for nearly one hour. The smell of garlic, cinnamon and cloves is rising behind me and filling the kitchen. Mmmmm….
Docaitta’s Osso Bucco
Prep: 10 min | Cook: 2 hrs 45 min | Serves 4
2 beef shanks, bone in (a little over 1 lb each)
salt and cracked black pepper
2 medium onions
2 bay leaves
2” cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup red wine
28 oz whole canned tomatoes
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven. Sprinkle the shanks with salt and pepper. Brown each one in the hot oil until the bottoms release from the pan. Remove to a plate.
Add the onions and spices to the oil. Sauté until the onions just begin to soften. Then add the garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes.
|After the sauce is nearly reduced.|
Nestle the shanks into the sauce. Add a little more salt and pepper. be careful as the salt will concentrate as the sauce reduces.
Cover the pot (leaving it slightly open), reduce the heat to simmer, and let braise for about 2 hours. Turn the shanks in the sauce periodically.
After 2 hours the sauce will still be quite liquid. Remove the cover and allow to cook for the remaining half hour to reduce. Keep check so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. The meat can also be taken from the bone with a spatula during this cooking time as well. The sauce will become quite thick.
Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Serve with fluffy masked potatoes or risotto.
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