Friday, September 09, 2005

Osso Buco

As promised! Here's the recipe for the Osso Buco I made for my dear friend K's housewarming gift basket.

First, some background. This has been one of my mom's signature dishes for a long time and I have never attempted to make it. I love it to bits...I love stew-y, slow cooked things, but I was a bit intimidated because of, well, the whole living-up-to-the-original thing. But this is K's favorite dish of my mother's and so I decided to just push up my sleeves and hazard an attempt. Unfortunately, my mom is off on her yearly NYC adventure so I had no one to badger about the details or any changes she made in the original recipe (which incidentally comes from a ratty old copy of Better Homes and Gardens Italian Cook Book), so I ended up making a lot of changes on my own.

Changes (both mine and my mother's) as follows:
- We use beef instead of veal. Eeek! Not-a-REAL-Osso-Buco! Veal is not widely available here and is a tad pricey, so there you go. This seems to change the very essence of what Osso Buco is, but we love it anyway...and it might actually be better for some this way, who knows...
- I made a lot more sauce than the original recipe intended. We love our rice here and my brother has to have this dish with tons of sauce for slathering on his rice.
- I add an inordinate amount of bones with marrow. Horribly unhealthy I know! But I just love it. And I think it adds great flavor and depth to the dish as a whole. Truth be told, K's batch didn't get all the bone marrow that was originally cooked in...a few went straight from the pot to my belly! But yes, cholesterol overload (story of my life), so feel free to reduce or omit as you see fit.
- We add orange juice.

Ok, enough chat, here's the recipe:

Beef Osso Buco
(heavily adapted from the Osso Buco in Better Homes and Gardens Italian Cook Book)

- 1.5 – 1.6 kilos beef shank (I use bone-in shank, the ones with marrow), cut meat into 2 – 2 ½ inch sections
- 0.5 - 0.6 kilos extra shank bone with marrow (I have the butcher saw them into 2 inch sections)
- 3 – 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 – 1 ½ cups chopped onions
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1.2 kilos canned chopped/crushed tomatoes (I use one 800 gram can and one 400 gram can)
- 1 ½ cup dry white wine
- Juice from 1 orange
- 1 ½ cup water
- 2 beef bouillon cubes
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 2 bay leaves
- Olive oil for cooking
- Sea salt and pepper

Here's what you do:

- Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper then dredge lightly in flour.
- In a Dutch oven (I don’t have one so I use a heavy bottomed pot) brown meat on all sides in hot oil.
- Remove meat and set aside.
- Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook until onion and celery are tender.
- Return meat to your pot.
- Stir in undrained tomatoes, wine, orange juice, bay leave, orange peel, lemon peel, beef bouillon, thyme, water, and a dash pepper.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat.
- Cover and simmer until meat is tender (the original recipe says it should take 1 – 1 ½ hours but mine took approximately double that...I'm using beef not veal so that may have a little something to do with that, oh well...just cook it gently until it's really tender).
- A while into the cooking, check if extra seasoning is needed and if so, add some salt to taste (the original recipe adds the salt earlier on but I prefer adding salt, aside from salt used to season the meat, later in the cooking because of horrible salty episodes in the past).

The original recipe has you remove the meat once cooked to further reduce the sauce, but we never do this step.

This is a very hearty, comforting, meat stew. Something, I guess, that would be considered a "winter" dish. We have no winter to speak of here, but our wet season is coming on (well, it seems to be in a series of false starts) so more reason for me to enjoy it :-)


JMom said...

oh, that osso bucco looks delicious!!! I haven't tried making this yet, although I order it regularly at any restaurant that has it on their menu :-) You made it sound so easy, I may give it a try!

dexiejane said...

besides calamari and tiramisu, osso bucco is one of my italian favorites. this looks delish. and i agree with jmom, you made it sound so easy :)

mare said...

I like the saucy variety as well, even better with rice!

BTW, I was inspired by your Nutella cupcakes and made some over the holiday weekend. I also linked your entry, hope you don't mind!

Mona said...

Wow, what a picture. I've never really tried osso bucco, and I think I might have to. And now more than ever is the reason with this amazing sounding recipe!!

Joe said...

That looks sooo good! Thanks for posting the recipe!

Mila Tan said...

I love eating osso bucco (I'm with you the cholesterol of the marrow is the best part!!!), so I'm going to have to learn how to cook it, c/o of your recipe. You've made it sound manageable and delicious. Thanks!

Lori said...

Love that osso bucco! It even has the bone marrow.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Jmom! Thanks! I hardly eat Osso Buco at restaurants since my mom makes it (now me too, wahoo!) :-) Aside from waiting for it to be done it is an easy one-pot dish...let me know if you give it a try :-)

Hi Dexie! Glad I could make it sound easy...I love stews...hope to get a real Dutch oven soon!

Hi Mare! Yes, in any stew dish we always up the better way to enjoy the rice with it! No problem linking my post...thanks! Will check out your post soon :-)

Hi Mona! Thanks! Let me know if ever you do try it out :-)

Thanks Joe! Glad you enjoyed the post :-)

Hi Mila! Thanks for your comments :-) The bone marrow is really the best...we fight over it in our house, which is why I add more (and if I cook it, then I can eat some on the sly before it gets to the table!).

Hi Lori! Fatty stuff is to me what desserts are to you, so there will always be marrow in my Osso Buco :-) YUM!

Cate said...

We will definitely be making this one!

Paz said...

Oh! This looks so good and I know tastes so good! I'm a big rice eater, too. Wouldn't mind having this with rice. ;-)


Marketmanila said...

That Osso bucco looks superb. I like the sauce too and it goes great with rice. If you want to go over the top on the richness scale, have this with risotto milanese (just saffron, butter, cheese). What really gives the dish its distinctive flavor is the citrus rind that is slow cooked. Fantastic!

Sassy Lawyer said...

wow!!! i'll try this. maybe with lamb. still not genuine osso buco but who cares if it tastes great. ;-P

angelika said...

Hi Joey, I have to ask my butcher if I can order also beef osso buco - because I would like to try this, sounds great. And it is the kind of dish you can prepare well in advance, and after warming up it tastes even better (if that is possible), so a good recipe also for a buffet party... kind regards and looking forward to hearing more about your marvelous foodie experiences, angelika

J said...

hi joey, i love osso bucco and yours looks perfect - so tender you could eat it with a spoon...

Randi said...

I dont eat meat, but it looks good. Have you heard of There is a foodblog going on now, its mostly about fillipino food. The woman writing is fillipino, but lives in vancouver. Check it out, its interesting.

Barbara said...

I looooove Osso Bucco and have plans to make it real soon. Which will only be the second time in my entire life. I have found veal hard to get too so will go the beef way.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Sweetnicks! Hope you like it! :-)

Hi Paz! Thanks! Nice to know you're a big rice eater too :-)

Hi Marketman! Thanks for your nice comment and your great tip... going "over the top on the richness scale" is something I love to do! Will definitely try that out next time...sounds heavenly...

Hi Sassy! I'm sure it'll be great with lamb too...I agree, as long as it taste good who cares :-) Some of the yummiest dishes are results of going down the culinary "road less travelled" :-) A restaurant here actually serves Lamb Shank Osso Buco and I love it!

Hi Angelika! I think you can just ask your butcher for beef shanks instead of veal shanks and you should be set. Yes, this is one of those dishes that taste better the following days, as it sits and the flavors meld wonderfully together :-)

Hi J! Thanks for the nice words! I love it when meat gets "spoon tender" like this...

Hi Randi! Thanks for dropping by! And thanks for the heads up about the Filipino foodblog on egullet...will definitely check it out :-)

Hi Barbara! Thanks and hope you enjoy the beef version :-)

Randi said...

her name is mooshmouse. Its under general food topics/foodblogs. I'll try to find the link.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Randi! Thanks a lot...I found it :-)

Randi said...

Here is that fillipino blog on

Midge said...

Oooh! Osso buco, Joey! What a great way to stave off the rainy-day blues!

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Randy!

Hi Midge! Yup, good for the rainy days :-)

wysgal said...

I love Osso Buco if only for the marrow! Western recipes usually have you serving this with pasta I think, but I love mine with rice as well. Locally I don't know that many restaurants that serve Osso Buco except maybe for Chateau. :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Wysgal! Love the marrow! That's why I try squeezing more into the dish (more than my mom does that's for sure!) :)

Pepato also serves their own version of it...Lamb Shank Osso Buco (pricey though). They also have another dish which is simply a hunka-hunka bone with marrow which is sliced length-wise, so the marrow is exposed and you just have to scoop it out. Haven't been there in a while so I hope both are still on the menu...

tattum said...

joey, I love ossobuco. In Argentina(like in Italy) is very common, but not in Spain. And since we had "vacas locas" 3 or 4 years ago, I haven't had it. Your recipe is fab, I must live the prejudice behind and try it!!

Ruth said...

The osso bucco looks amazing. My recipe comes from an equally old, ratty and simple book of Italian dishes by Sunset. They had a series of books I bought years ago when I was just learning the ins and outs of my kitchen.

It's still the only osso bucco recipe I use.

keiko said...

Hi Joey - your osso bucco looks perfect! I can imagine the tender meat coming off from the bone...

jilal said...


ChichaJo said...

Hi Tattum! Thanks! I remember "vacas locas"...que jaleo! Is the beef there still suspect?

Hi Ruth! Thanks! Don't you love taking out these old, worn, cook books, leafing through their familiar, sauce-stained pages, and churning out a family favorite? Something so comforting in that...

Hi Keiko! Thanks for your lovely comment :) I love these slow cooked dishes...and the tender meat you get from them!

Hi Jilal! Thanks for dropping by :)

veron said...

Oh wow, yum, I will definitely try this variation next! I notice you use crushed tomatoes.. I like that!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Veron! Thanks :) Yes, and I also like putting extra marrow...because I like to live on the edge like that, heehee :)