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Osso Buco

The Challenge

The challenge this week was Osso Buco, found here or on page 144 of Foolproof.

Lea's Take:

Who even knows what Osso Buco is? I sure didn't before we made this recipe. Mary said she orders it all the time in restaurants [Mary: I probably didn't say "all the time"] and, when I went to pick up the meat I forgot at my mom's, my mom was all, "oh, you're making Osso Buco?" How does everyone know what this is but me? (Don't answer that.)

Anyway, if you're one of the few who doesn't know what it is, Osso Buco [Mary: Italian for "bone with a hole"] [Lea: Ew, seriously? Let's just keep it to Osso Buco, shall we?] is veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine, and broth. Sounds delicious, doesn't it? And it was!

OK, to make them, it's pretty similar to the lamb shanks we made recently. Toss the veal in flour, throw them in a Dutch oven (workhorse!) with olive oil to brown on all sides. And by brown, I mean, "don't burn like I did." Once they're browned, you're supposed to put them on a plate for later and wipe out the pot with a paper towel (exactly like we did for the lamb shank). Josh was all, "don't do that!" and I was all, "It's what the recipe said! Don't backseat cook!"

Then, you melt butter in the Dutch oven (and really clean out your pot before you do that, even though the pot was frickin' hot and hard to wipe out, but that's neither here nor there - if you don't, you're going to have butter with burned bits and, in turn, vegetables with burned bits). Add celery, leeks, carrots, and onion and sauté for 10 minutes. Add a bunch of other stuff, chicken stock, wine, etc., and here's where you're allowed to scrape up the browned (read: burned) bits. Put the shanks back in the pot and let the liquid simmer. Then you cover the pot and put it in the oven for 2 hours.

While it's in the oven, wash all your dishes and have some wine. Voila! [Mary: Isn't this cooking thing fun??]

Mary's Take:

Osso Buco is one of those decadent meals I do love to order when I'm at an Italian restaurant [Lea: See?] but have never made it at home, surprisingly. Possibly because it's spendy. I had a hard time finding the veal shanks...they typically aren't stocked well at the grocery stores [Lea: And especially not at our vanilla grocery store], and the ones I did find there were not the 2" recommended in the recipe. The trusty butcher shop, however, had exactly what we needed, and, at $17 a pound, cost around $20 per shank. So, making this for a family of 4 can really get expensive.

But so worth it for a special occasion.

We had our friend, Al, come into town from Texas that weekend, so, despite my fear that I was making an Italian meal for an Italian (no one's food is ever as good as their nonna's), the timing was perfect. And a special occasion, indeed.

As Lea mentioned, cooking pot food seems to follow the same formula: brown the meat, sauté the veggies, add the liquid and let it do its magic.

(Did you notice I changed my pot out from my usual stained Dutch oven to this chili pot? The shanks couldn't have fit better.)

It looks like a lot of liquid surrounding that tender meat, but you'll be happy you have it.

We served it with polenta (grits, to you southerners) instead of a potato. (Also scary to serve to an Italian.)

The Verdict

Lea: Well, I thought it was delicious. When we made the lamb, I had gotten 4 shanks, which was waaaaaaay too much for us. So, Mary (bless her heart) picked up the meat yet again for us, but I told her to only get me 2. Veal shanks are smaller so we could've used more (we had zero leftovers), but whatever.

Josh: This is great. (I really need to do a better job gathering feedback). [Mary: he told me he couldn't get enough of the sauce.] [Lea: You know, it'd be helpful if he told ME that, so I had more to write down than "This is great" every time.]

Mr. Picky Pants: It's not bad.

Mr. Good Eater: Can I eat this with feta? [Mary: ha! That's my boy.]

Mary: These meals may take a long time from start to finish, but they're so worth it. The meat was tender and rich, and you'll want to sop up every last drop of sauce with a good piece of bread.

John and Al agreed that they felt like they'd been transported to the hills of Madesimo in the Italian Alps region, where they went several years ago. [Lea: Now that's a compliment!] Here's a pic of it.

And Al finished the meal with, "Incredibile!" (That's "incredible" in Italian, FYI.) [Lea: Good thing you told us, 'cause I would've judged your misspelling.] I guess his nonna and Ina were on the same page. Shew!

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Feb 19, 2021

It looks like my Southern pot roast that my family loves :)

Feb 22, 2021
Replying to

You're right, it does look like pot roast in the pic, just smaller. :)

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