Osso Buco means "bone with a hole!" Honestly, I did not know that tidbit. Osso buco is an old seasonal dish that was valued by peasants because it's made from a tough shank cut. The hole is the marrow in the center of the bone. Today, marrow is considered a delicacy... wouldn't you know?! I pulled some beef shanks from the co-op and threw them in my seasoned cast iron for a good sear. If you are new to searing meat; it's a hot, quick browning of each side of the meat - about 3 minutes in about 1/4 inch of olive oil. I added a whole garlic, cloves peeled and crushed and left some whole, with slices of two onions, lemon zest, sea salt and cracked pepper. That process takes less than 10 minutes and fills the kitchen with fall memories.
The best part of having a tough cut of meat is the time it takes to braise. Basically, a braise is gentle cooking in liquid with a lid (or foil) until the meat is so succulent, it becomes a rich fall-off-the-bone culinary delicacy!
My version Ingredients:
2 shanks l Osso Buco - I used Everyday Goodlife grass fed beef
1 whole garlic head
6 carrots (give or take :)
4 roma tomatoes
4 stalks of celery
1 lemon or lemon pepper
1 cup of red wine or beer
Parsley, rosemary, thyme or herbs you prefer
Sea salt and pepper
After the meat is seared in olive oil with onions and garlic in my cast iron skillet, I leave it in my deep skillet or transfer all into a dutch oven with a lid. Add wine or beer... 0r just water. I like the wine or beer for a more complex flavor and the acid tenderizes the meat. You could also use some splashes of balsamic vinegar. Add enough water to cover halfway up the meat and the herbs you plan to use.
Cover with a lid or foil and slip into a 325 degree oven. I use a lower temperature for braised meats to get a more tender result. I only check on this lovely source of smell every hour adding more liquid, if necessary. Approximately 2 1/2 - 3 hrs later, I add rough cut carrots, celery and tomatoes and cover for the finishing stewing of the vegetables another hour or so and turn the oven up to 350 degrees. I'm not that good with time, so it is just an easy dish to ignore :). If the meat does not pull easily from the bone and is not fork tender, keep going...
Actually, that's it! You can add more liquid and potatoes when you put the vegetables in for a nice broth stew, or keep the broth reduced and intense with flavor to serve over mashed or roasted potatoes (or cauliflower).
I have to tell you what I did last night because I knew the girls would enjoy it: I added gnocchi to the broth in the last 30 minutes or so before we headed out for our cubby ride to the creek. We came back to a beautiful fall one bowl dinner and there were no leftovers!
My recipes are never precise, so there's a lot of room for your own creativity. I'm not an instapot fan, but @meadowlarkfarmbewell swears by one. If I'm home, I like the cast iron and oven now that fall is here. A crock pot is also an option if you are away from home. Sear the meat and then dump it all in together like a stew.
The best part of autumn is the preparation of slow food, especially combined with colored leaves falling gracefully and a possible whiff of wood smoke in the air. Happy Autumn!