Sunday, July 11, 2010
Osso Bucco Bianco
Vegetarians aside, just who doesn't love the fall apart unctuousness of slow cooked veal shank? Lip sticking, fork tender meat that melts in the mouth with a gelatinous texture that only comes from prime young steer, including the soft creamy surprise of bone marrow, waiting to be boldly scooped out of its hiding place.
No doubt, one of its finest manifestations is in the Italian dish of osso bucco, where the meat is gently braised with a sofrito of onion, carrot & celery and moistened with tomato, chicken stock and a little white wine.
As good as that is, there are some days when something a little different is needed, a pared down version still full of bold flavours. Leave out tomatoes and the colour is changed from the familiar red to what Italians refer to as bianco (white).
With so few ingredients compared to regular osso bucco, the intense flavour comes as a real surprise and is perhaps better served matched with wet polenta than the classic accompaniment of risotto Milanese.
Osso Bucco Bianco
1kg pieces of veal shin
salt & fresh ground pepper
plain flour for dusting
100g unsalted butter
50ml olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2-3 stalks celery, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 50g tin quality anchovies, drained, about 8 -10 fillets
500ml dry white wine
parsley, finely chopped
Season the pieces of veal shin with salt and fresh ground pepper and dust in flour, shake off any excess. Melt 50g butter with all the olive oil in a pan that can hold all the veal pieces in a single layer. When hot, lightly brown the veal shanks and remove them when done.
Drain all the fat from the pan, no need to wipe it, then melt the remaining butter and sweat the onion, celery and garlic until soft, then add the drained anchovies, stirring well until they melt into the mixture.
Pour in the wine and bring to the boil and keep at the boil for a minute or two to drive off excess alcohol. Arrange the veal shanks in the pan so the marrow cannot fall out, cover this with baking paper, then the lid and place in the oven preheated to 150c. Cook for about 2 hours, pressing on the meat to see when it looks ready to fall apart.
Remove the meat and check the sauce, if it looks too thin, boil until reduced, or, it it's too thick, add some water and reboil. Check for seasoning, it probably won't need salt, just a quick grind of the pepper mill.
Serve on wet polenta flavoured with pecorino cheese and a knob of butter, sprinkle over a little parsley.