Served with a red wine and mushroom sauce, creamy polenta and zesty orange gremolata, this oven-roasted osso bucco recipe is classy comfort food.
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If you’re after comfort food in the cooler months, look no further than this Italian favourite. Traditional osso bucco, which comes from the northern Italian region of Lombardy, is made with veal shanks and served with risotto or polenta and gremolata. It’s cooked until the meat is incredibly tender and the sauce is thickened. These days there are many osso bucco recipes that use beef shanks instead of veal and the results are just as delicious and comforting. Our recipe uses beef shanks and is cooked in a rich red wine sauce and served with creamy polenta and a zesty orange gremolata. And to add to the comfort factor, this dish also includes steamed green beans and peas to round it out.
The main ingredient for this recipe for osso bucco is, of course, the meat. You’ll need four large pieces of good-quality beef osso bucco to serve four people. You’ll also need some flour to sprinkle over the meat before cooking it to brown (the flour also helps to thicken the sauce). Brown mushrooms will add an earthy taste, and because they’re sturdier than the white variety, they’ll hold their shape in the dish well. You could also use dried mushrooms (as well as fresh) for a more concentrated hit of mushroom goodness. Onion, carrot and celery are brought in to create a base for the sauce, as is garlic, and red wine is used to bring out the flavours and aromas of the dish. You’ll need a can of diced tomatoes for the sauce and some bay leaves for a herbal hit. The osso bucco is served with orange gremolata, a sauce traditionally made using finely chopped parsley, finely chopped garlic and lemon zest. Here we use those gremolata ingredients but use orange zest instead of lemon, and add some thyme for a twist on the classic sauce.
This osso bucco is served with creamy polenta, but you could also serve it with mashed potato. Steamed veggies such as green beans and peas are a fresh side dish for this warming serve of tender meat and rich sauce.
This dish is cooked in the oven so the moisture stays in the pan, cooking the meat without drying it out. First, preheat the oven to 150°C – it’s all about low and slow. Brown the meat to lock in the rich flavours. To do this, coat the meat in seasoned flour then add it to a large heavy-based casserole pan with oil over medium-high heat. You’ll need to do this in 2 batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, which will cool it down and cause the meat to stick to the pan. Cook the meat for 5 minutes or until it’s browned, turning it occasionally to ensure it’s browned all over. Once the meat is browned, remove it from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Then heat ½ tbs of olive oil in the pan and add 200g of halved brown mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until the mushrooms are browned. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and add them to the beef in the bowl. Heat another ½ tbs of olive oil in the pan and add 1 finely chopped onion, 1 finely chopped carrot and 2 finely chopped celery sticks to the pan. Stir the veggies while they cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion softens - this also makes the onion nice and sweet and adds to the flavour of the dish. Stir in 2 crushed garlic cloves then place the beef and brown mushrooms back in the pan. If you’re using dried mushrooms, add these to the pan as well then pour in 2 cups (500ml) of red wine. A dry wine is always best for cooking as it adds acidity to the dish and gives the flavours a boost. Then add a can of diced tomatoes and 2 bay leaves and bring to the boil. Loosely cover the pan and place it in the oven. Bake for 2 hours, turning the meat occasionally, until it’s tender and falling off the bone.
While the beef is in the oven, make the orange gremolata. Combine 1 tbs of orange zest, some finely chopped parsley and thyme and 1 finely chopped garlic clove.
When you’re ready to serve, place some cooked polenta on a serving plate and spoon over the beef mixture. Top with gremolata and serve with steamed green beans and peas.
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Energy: 1709kJ/409 Cals (20%)
Protein: 31g (62%)
Fat: 14g (20%)
Sat fat: 3g (13%)
Carb: 11g (4%)
Sugar: 11g (4%)
Fibre: 6g (20%)
Sodium: 158mg (8%)