This is a recipe I grew up eating; that scented my childhood home through winter weekends and one that was always enjoyed with relish. As the days grew cold earlier this month, I rang Mum for a chat and asked her for this recipe. What she told me wasn’t a recipe in the traditional sense but rather a rough list of essential ingredients with the instructions to cook gently for many hours. Like the best stews, this is a dish that originally came from a recipe book but is now ingrained in my Mum’s head and, honestly, pretty well stuck in mine now too.
• 6 pieces of veal on the shin bone (1 piece per person)
• 4 tablespoons Olive Oil
• ½ cup Plain Flour
• Salt and Pepper to season
• 3 Carrots, finely diced
• 3 large sticks of Celery, finely diced
• 1 litre of water or stock
• 2 tablespoons of Tomato Paste
• 4 tablespoons of Flat Leaf Parsley
• 1 large clove of Garlic
• Zest of half a Lemon
• Mashed potato, to serve
Firstly, place the flour in a freezer bag and season with salt and pepper. Give it a brief shake to mix, then put the pieces of veal in, one at a time, to coat with a fine layer of seasoned flour. Heat half the oil in a large stock pot and place the veal in to brown lightly on both sides. I did mine in two batches because my stock pot doesn’t have a large surface area. (Use the remaining oil for the second batch if you do the same).
Once all the meat has browned, add in the liquid, tomato paste, celery and carrots. Cover, bring the mixture up to a boil and then reduce to a very low simmer.
Leave to bubble away for at least 3 hours, possibly more if you can. Test it every now and again and be sure the liquid isn’t boiling or it will burn.
While it simmers away, finely chop the parsley and mix with the lemon zest and finely chopped garlic. (I use my microplane zester for both the lemon and the garlic). Mix these ingredients together in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This is the gremolata; a finishing touch for osso bucco and an essential flavour component of the dish.
When the meat is tender and falling off the bone; serve each person one piece of the veal on top of a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes, spoon over the stewing liquid and sprinkle the gremolata over the top.
Osso Bucco is comfort food at its finest and this is the best (and only) recipe for this dish as far as I’m concerned. It can be made with beef of the same cut if you are not a veal fan, but it is a classic stew, has beautiful flavours and is one you should make this winter the next time the weather is miserable and you are after something to warm you from within.