Osso Buco

Happy New Year! Osso Buco is an Italian dish of veal shanks braised in white wine and stock. The name of both the dish and the cut of meat means bone with a hole since, when the meat is cooked, the bone marrow melts into the sauce, leaving you with a gloriously rich gravy and a bone with a hole in it. It seemed to be the perfect way to ring in the New Year.

If you have any lingering doubts about veal, don’t worry. This is rose veal, which means it’s raised to RSPCA standards, never been in a crate and led a happier lifestyle than it could have done as a male dairy calf. You’ll need four, two inch, slices to serve four people.

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Dredge the meat with some plain flour. Melt 50g of butter and fry the meat for a couple of minutes on each side. Do two at a time if they won’t all fit in the pan. Now chop half an onion, a carrot and a stick of a celery into a fine dice. Take the meat out of the pan and fry the vegetables for a few minutes, then squash the meat back in in a single layer. Tip in a small (125ml) glass of white wine and let it bubble away for a minute. Then add 250ml of meat stock, a fancy one that comes in a tub to do the dish justice. Now bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered, over a very low heat for between an hour and an hour and a half.

While this is cooking, chop together the leaves of two stalks of parsley, the zest of a lemon and half a clove of garlic. This is gremolata and add some greenery to the finished dish.

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When the meat is falling away from the bone, fish it out and turn the heat up to bring the gravy to a roiling boil. Mix together two tablespoons of tomato puree and a tablespoon of hot water, and stir this into the juices as they start to thicken. Then spoon this luscious sauce over the meat, topping off with a sprinkling of gremolata.

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This is traditionally served with risotto alla Milanese, which includes saffron. Nowhere, not even Waitrose, had saffron on New Years Eve, so my risotto is rather plainer but still a welcome side of stodge. Controversially the veg is Brussels sprouts but that’s a post for another time.

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