Osso~bu:co. I can see a few blank looks.
Ossobuco is a traditional Milanese dish (from Milan 😊) and is also a cut of meat, from the shank. In Milan it's cut from veal but here in Kenya we mostly have beef available so mine was beef. In plain English, it is also called the beef shank and is usually cut into thick slices. It comes with a bone (actually Ossobuco stands for the 'bone with the hole' because when you cook the cut, the marrow at the centre of the bone cooks through and leaves a hole).
On Sunday I decided to spoil myself and made some Ossobuco. Its a hearty dish so be prepared to fall asleep immediately after eating. It is also a labour of love so dont expect a meal in an hour lol. It is not a tender cut of meat so it needs a long time to braise until it's fall-off-the-bone soft. Mine took 3 whole hours but was totally worth it. If you don't want to use a gas cooker and have outdoor space, use a jiko. You save on your gas bill 😊 The ingredients are basic (minus the wine) but it is worth the wait.
4 pieces of beef shank
1 medium celery, finely chopped
2 large onions, finely chopped
4 large carrots finely diced
5 large cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
2 tbs tomato paste
1 cup of wine ( a cheap dry white will do)
2 litres of beef stock
1 cup of flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 fresh bouquets garnis (bundle of herbs: thyme, bay leaves, sage, rosemary all tied up with kitchen string)
You will definitely need a big pot for this dish.
Put your pot on high heat and to it add about 1/4 cup of oil.
Mix your flour with about 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of pepper then put it on a flat plate. Trim any excess fat off the shank but be careful not to remove the muscly fibre around the shank. This will keep the meat together throughout the cooking . Using tongs (or your hands) dredge your cuts in the flour making sure every inch of the meat is covered in the flour mix. Then put your cuts into the pot and make sure you brown them on both sides. Do not cook them through. We just want the colour on a high heat to seal in the juices.
Once all the meat is browned, take it out of the pot and set aside. (Don't worry if there is a bit of burn at the bottom of the pan. It is all part of the flavour.) Add your onions, celery, carrots, garlic and salt and reduce to a medium heat to sweat the vegetables for about 5 to 10 minutes. Next, add the bouquet garnis and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes and add the wine and tomato paste. Let the wine simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes.
After the 5 minutes, add the shanks to the pan and on top of the shanks, pour all your tinned tomatoes and sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoon of salt on top of the tomatoes. Lastly pour in your stock. Cover and let it simmer on a medium heat for about 3 hours or until the meat is tender. (If the stock finishes as the meal simmers, you can top up but not too much. The meal should have a thick gravy NOT a watery soup guys.)
In Italy, they serve this meal with risotto alla milanese but meh...lets keep it simple, rice or mash will do. I served mine with a creamy mash that had bits of runner beans.