Stews and slow-cooked meats are not only incredibly delicious – I find they are quite relaxed dinner choices as much of the work is done quite some time before serving dinner and it is not required to follow a very precise timing. So if you are planning a dinner party and it is usually difficult to know when everyone will proceed to the table, it’s a choice that does not make you panic easily. So last Christmas, I chose to finally venture into making a Milanese ossobuco. I say „finally“ because for a long time, I had groomed a certain awe relative to this dish as I connect one of my most devastating kitchen failures with it. I was still very young and not incredibly skilled in the kitchen when it happened but it somehow imprinted itself in my memory and I had since avoided tackling this dish. However, it happened that my favored butcher messed my Christmas meat order that year and the beef I intended for preparing sauerbraten did not arrive in time for the marinating. Looking for an alternative, I came to the conclusion that it may be time to face my (kitchen-)demons. And what can I say but that I managed to lay those at rest for all times? The meat came out soft as butter and flavorful to its core. And ultimately, there was not much preparation involved – you just need to be patient and give it the time it needs to stew and soften up. And you can also just prepare it one day earlier and let it warm through properly just before serving.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 4 tablespoons of flour
- 2-3 teaspoons of crushed chili
- 4 veal shanks (ca.300 g each) (if you cannot get veal shank, beef shanks work fine as well but better do not mention it to traditionalists)
- 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper, salt
- 200 grams of yellow onions, cut into medium dices
- 200 grams of celery, cut into medium dices
- 30 grams of butter
- 200 ml of cooking white wine
- 400 ml of veal stock
- 1 garlic clove (optional)
- 1/2 small bunch of parsley
- zest of 1 lemon
- Mix the flour and the chili. Turn the veal shanks in the flour, dust off an excess flour.
- Heat up the oil in a large roaster. Sear the meat one by one from both sides, approximately for 1 minute on each side. Season with freshly ground pepper and salt and set aside.
- Reduce the temperature to medium, add the butter to the roaster and sauté the vegetables for a few minutes. Deglaze with the white wine and then add the veal stock. Bring to the boil.
- Put the meat back into the roaster, cover and braise for approximately 90 to 120 minutes on low to medium heat. (Alternatively, prepare in the oven at 160 degrees Celsius for the same amount of time.)
- For the gremolata, finely chop the garlic (optional) and the parsley and mix with the lemon zest. Add approximately 1/2 to the meat when done and give it 5 to 10 minutes to infuse with the sauce.
- Serve on pre-warmed dishes sprinkled with the remaining gremolata.
Recommended side dishes:
- Polenta with thyme: Follow the polenta recipe at Baccalà Mantecato; add the leaves of approximately 5 to 6 stems of thyme to the polenta before boiling.
- Carrots with almonds: Cut approximately 4 to 5 large carrots into thin sticks. Heat up 1 teaspoon of concentrated butter in a non-stick frying pan on medium to high heat. Add the carrots. Toss for 5 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of sherry, cover and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of sliced blanched almonds (even nicer when previously roasted on medium heat for approximately 5 minutes) and 1 to 2 teaspoons of butter. Toss for another 1 to 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with finely chopped fresh parsley.