I introduced this dish at my restaurant, La Grille Bar et Restaurant in very rural France in May 2003 just as the French summer had already commenced. Ahhh, I can see the colours now.
The Limousin diet consists mainly of meat, cheese, bread and red wine so as veal, which was readily available – and you need shin of veal for this – a little piece of Italy arrived one day in SW France. Just like all traditional and ample dishes this is a one pot peasant recipe consisting of meat, a few vegetables, wine and stock. Plus garlic, of course.
Osso Buco means ‘bone with a hole’ and is made in many differing ways, depending on whose Nona had cooked it but mine is without tomatoes or cinnamon. I keep mine simple and it works every time.
And as I happened to be in Granada last week I fell upon shin of veal without really looking, it would be rude not to cook Osso Buco.
This recipe doesn’t really work for one so this is for four:
Dust 4 or more shins of veal in seasoned flour, shaking off the excess flour.
Brown the meat with olive oil in a pot, then set aside.
Make a mirepoix* (diced carrot, celery and onion) and fry in the same pot with a little butter until tender.
Add copious amounts of garlic cloves (15 in my case, cut in half), a few strips of lemon peel and a couple of bay leaves. Normally I would use sage leaves but the herb garden is bare, save for mint. Mojito anyone?
Add back the meat. Grind over fresh black peppercorns.
Cook for a few minutes then ramp up the heat, throwing in a BIG glass of dry white wine.
When the wine has reduced top off with home-made chicken stock making sure that things come up to a boil then turn the heat to the lowest setting, cover and let things simmer for 1 ½ hours, turning the meat over from time to time.
It’s ready when the meat is falling away from the marrow bone.
Now, here is the best part. Make a gremolata by grating lemon zest, grated garlic and finely chopped flat leaf parsley which you sprinkle over just before serving. Heaven or what?
Serve with mashed potato or crusty bread.
*I was in the south west of France earlier this month, there is actually a town called Mirepoix but I don’t know what the relationship is with carrots, celery and onions.