Well the cool weather has well and truly hit Melbourne and with it brings warming slow cooked meals to nourish the body and soul. I’m not really a fan of the cold weather, however, I do love the comfort meal options it brings with it. I actually find it easier to plan meals during the cooler months as you can easily pop a meal into a slow cooker or a low heat oven early in the day and let it cook away nice and slow, so that it’s ready and waiting for you at the end of the day.
Osso Bucco is definitely a meat eater’s dish. Traditionally made with veal shanks, you can also make it with beef shanks. Whatever meat you use, try to ensure it is grass fed and comes from an ethical source. Once cooked in the stock and tomato sauce, it is garnished with a gremolata. The marrow from the bones adds some great nutritional value to this dish - it is nutrient dense, energy rich and gelatinous which in turn helps build cartilage, make proteins and improve skin quality. Depending on your preference, serve with polenta or a creamy mash and steamed veggies - personally I like to serve it with sweet potato mash, steamed broccoli and carrots. Bake this dish on a weekend and make enough for leftovers to serve with steamed greens for lunch. This version below serves four people so adjust as you need to.
4 slices of thickly cut beef (or veal) osso bucco
50-100 mls olive oil
2 medium onions, finely diced
2 carrots, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 anchovy fillets
2 sprigs each thyme, rosemary and sage
1 bay leaf
1 cup of dry white wine (or substitute chicken or beef stock if you dont want to use wine)
Approximately 600 grams of diced tomatoes - note, I use 1-2 cans of diced tomato or one standard bottle of organic tomato passata (or a mixture of both).
250ml of chicken or beef stock
For the Gremolata
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
Zest from medium lemon (optional)
2-3 Tablespoons of flat leaf parsley
1-2 Tablespoons of finely chopped good quality anchovy fillets
How do I prepare this?
Season the beef with salt and pepper.
Heat half the oil in a heavy based pan that will fit the osso bucco in one layer or cook in batches. You want to brown the shanks on each side. Once browned transfer to a plate and set aside.
In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil and add in the onions, diced carrots, half the garlic, anchovies and herbs. Gently saute for 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Don’t let the mixture burn!
Turn up the heat and add the wine (or stock) and deglaze the pan - this lifts all the yummy bits and pieces that are stuck to the pan back into the dish.
When the wine has almost reduced, add the crushed tomatoes or passata (or combination of both), the stock and the remaining two garlic cloves. Bring it to the boil and then turn down to a simmer. Return the osso bucco to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
Now at this point you can either leave the mixture in the pan, cover with a lid and simmer gently for 2- 4 hours. You will know when it’s ready as the meat will fall away from the bone.
I like to do the following instead. Into a large deep ceramic or glass rectangular roasting dish, add the osso bucco and pour the slightly reduced sauce over the top. Cover with a lid or foil and place into an over on 150-160 degrees and cook for 3 to 4 hours. I take the lid/foil off about half an hour or so before it’s finished cooking. The photo shows an osso bucco I recently cooked - a little over cooked, but was insanely delicious! I also added some small pork sausages to the dish!
Serve with gremolata on top of osso bucco and polenta or mash, steamed carrots, beans and broccoli.
For any help you might need with meal planning or to enquire about my 1:1 food coaching consults, head over to www.nourishedu.com.au - I offer a free 15 minute phone consultation, which is a great opportunity to briefly discuss your health concerns and see how a Nutritional Food Coach can support you and your health goals.