Ola’s almost Osso Bucco
This is by far my most talked about, most loved recipe. I even made it for my dear friend’s wedding, a party of lots and lots. It’s not that difficult, but it takes time if you want it to really come into its own.
Way back when I stopped eating beef. I have to be honest it had everything to do with mad cows disease. This all ended when I came down with pneumonia a few summers ago. After my recovery all I could think about was thick juicy red steaks, it ached in my teeth. That was that, my friend Marianne and I went to a local steak house and I pigged out. Iron deficiency will do that to you. Since then beef is on the menu more often than not.
But, way back when I stayed away from red meat and that is how this recipe came into existence. Before food became the new it bag, my friends and I were often found having dinner parties and game nights together with whoever dared drop by uninvited. One of cooking my “rivals” by the name of Ola, decided to invite all 8 or 9 of us to a five course Italian dinner at my place. The menu came from Kulinary Italian, a comprehensive cook book filled with all manner of information about the Italian kitchen. Unfortunately the book is no longer in print!
So this is what happened. Ola made osso bucco with the traditional veal adding a steak of lamb to the pot for me. Being that it is the bone marrow you should watch out for this didn’t really help my cause, but who cares. What came out of that pot was divine. The key to this version is the wine. Whether or not Ola forgot to buy a bottle of dry white or decided to just use the dessert wine he was using for the pears I don’t know. But it was a smart move, giving the Osso Bucco the type of savory sweet flavor that leaves you smacking your lips years later.
I made this dish last weekend. Unfortunately it didn’t live up to its usual standard. Two things happened. I rushed it, secondly I couldn’t find lamb steak so I used the neck which is tougher and requires more cooking time.
Ingredients Serves 4
3 kgs Lamb Steak
1 1/2 Cups Onion chopped
3/4 Cups Lrg Carrot chopped
3/4 Cups Celery chopped
1 Can Plum Tomatoes, regular can of tomatoes works too.
5 Cups Veg. Stock
Lrg sprig of fresh Thyme, or 2 TBS dried
1 TBS Marjoram
1 Cup Parsley chopped
3 Lemons to Zest
2 Lrg Garlic Cloves chopped
2 Cups Dessert Wine, I use Chateau Menota
Depending how big your pot is you may need to divide this into two pots. Okay, first take your lamb steaks and dredge them in the flour and brown on both sides in the olive oil and put to the side. If the flour starts to burn just rinse out the pan and start with fresh olive oil. Next saute your onions until translucent, later add the garlic, then carrots and celery. When they have had some time to saute add the can of tomatoes and saute a bit more. This helps get rid of the bitterness in the tomatoes. Now pour in half of the vegetable stock. Lay your lamb in the pot and add enough vegetable stock to just cover the meat. You may need to rotate the steaks around as it cooks down to evenly cook the meat.
Let it simmer for anything from 2-3 hours. The liquid will cook down, be careful not to let it cook down too much. However, you do want the sauce to reduce and thicken before you add the wine. Once the meat starts to soften and fall off of the bone, add the dessert wine and let it simmer an additional 30 min.
In the mean time, make your Gremolata. It’s simple. Chop you parsley and garlic finely. Then zest or grate your lemon skins. You just want the yellow. Put it in a bowl and toss. You will be using this to garnish your osso bucco. I like lots and lots on mine, others prefer a pinch.
I like to serve my osso bucco either with polenta, cakes, fried polenta sticks or just plain boiled polenta with bullion. Add a green vegetable and some salad and your all set. I prefer asparagus. You can also serve it with a simple risotto.