Osso Bucco is an easy, elegant recipe to serve to guests. I don’t know about you, but when I think of osso bucco, I immediately think of The Office when Michael Scott and Jan were on the last legs of their dysfunctional relationship, and they invited a bunch of people over to attend a very uncomfortable dinner, full of awkward silences. If that weren’t enough, Jan was making osso bucco, which had to cook for 6 hours, and she had only just started cooking the dish.
Humor aside, this episode gave the impression that osso bucco is something hugely complicated to make. But it’s not.
Osso bucco is Italian for “bone with a hole.” It’s a peasant dish that was traditionally made with a creamy sauce, but is now more popular to make with tomatoes. It has a very mild flavour and you can make it with veal shanks or slices of turkey leg. I’m making mine with turkey.
Salt and pepper the meat, and put some flour on a plate. Dredge the meat in the flour, coating it on all sides, and then heat a large skillet with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Brown the meat a few minutes on each side.
I like to purée my vegetables and seasoning, so I puréed one large onion, 2 stalks of celery, and 8 cloves of garlic. I put some more olive oil in a large sauce pan and browned this mixture. Some recipes call for carrots, but I don’t like carrots in dishes that use tomatoes.
When the mixture is brown, add 2 cups of white wine. Mine is alcohol free, but it still contributes to the flavour. Add a few bay leaves and a sprig of thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried thyme). Reduce the wine by heating the wine-onion mix on high heat, stirring often.
When it’s reduced (less liquid), place the meat on top.
Cover with 4 cups of beef bouillon. You can use chicken or vegetable as well. Now you’ll want to cook it on low heat uncovered for 1.5 to 2 hours – the longer the better.
Meanwhile, zest an orange and two lemons (I assume this would not be in the traditional peasant recipe, but it adds a perfect extra touch).
Add the zest towards the end of the cooking time.
Then add a can of crushed tomatoes and a can of tomato paste (the paste should be smaller in size). And your dish is ready to serve to your guests!
If you’re feeling stressed about preparing this, you can brown the meat and purée the onion mix earlier in the day, and store them in the fridge. That way you only have to add the liquid and start simmering two hours before your guests come. It’s stress-free!
Serve it with rice, and if you need a tutorial for making rice, there is one right here.
See? I think of everything. 😉
- 4 pounds of veal shanks or sliced turkey leg with bone
- 1 large onion
- 2 stalks of celery
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 sprig of thyme or 2 t dried thyme
- 4 T olive oil, split in two
- 2 cups white wine
- 4 cups bouillon (beef, chicken, vegetable)
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 can tomato paste
- Zest from 1 orange and 2 lemons
- flour, salt and pepper
- Salt and pepper the meat, dredge in flour.
- Brown the meat in a hot skillet.
- Purée onion, garlic, celery.
- Brown the onion mix in more olive oil in a large sauce pan.
- Add the wine and reduce.
- Add the meat and bouillon.
- Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally.
- Then towards the end, add the zest and tomatoes.
- Serve hot over rice.