For me, there is nothing more comforting than a slow-cooked stew and there are as many of these as there are cultures and regions in the world. Here in the United States we are accustomed to the classic pot roast. In France, classic stewed dishes include coq au vin or beef bourguignon. Morocco has various Tajine dishes, which include chicken, lamb or goat usually served with couscous. And India is famous for its vegetable and meat curries. Some of these you may have heard of or tried in the past and some may be regulars on you dinner table. But all of them are worth trying.
In this recipe we are going to make one of my favorites, veal osso bucco. The osso bucco cut is from the shank and is a great cut from most animals larger than 500 pounds. On smaller animals like lamb, venison, pork or goat, it is better to just use the whole shank. Pork shanks are usually cured and/or smoked and can be found labeled as ham hocks.
Before getting started you will need to gather the following ingredients:
4 veal shanks osso bucco cut
2 cups seasoned flour
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 head of garlic cut in half
4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
2 T fennel seed
2 star anise
1 T fenugreek seed
1 orange, juice & zest
1 bottle (750ml) Italian white wine
8 cups chicken stock or water
4 oz. tomato paste
Salt & pepper to taste
First, heat olive oil in a large oven-safe casserole over medium high heat. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Pat the veal dry with a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper. Dust each shank lightly with the flour, knocking off any excess, and place in casserole to brown.
Once browned evenly on all sides, remove the shanks and set aside. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, tomatoes, fennel seed, anise, fenugreek and sauté until lightly browned. Add the orange zest, orange juice and wine. Reduce by one-third. When reduced, add the stock and reduce by one-half. Add the tomato paste and bring back to a boil. Add the shanks, being sure to almost submerge them in the braising liquid. Bring back to a simmer, cover and place in your oven.
Cook for two to three hours or until fork tender. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 30 minutes. I like to let mine cool in the liquid overnight. This way the meat absorbs the braising liquids as it rests. When the meat has rested carefully remove from the pot and set aside. Strain the liquid into a sauce pot and bring to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer and reduce for 5-10 minutes skimming away any fat that rises to the top. Now it is ready. I like to serve the osso bucco over creamy polenta with roasted vegetables and finished with the wonderful sauce and a bit of fresh chopped Italian parsley. Enjoy!
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