Ossobuco has to be one of the tastiest winter meals you can make. Prepare and cook one, two or even three days before serving. Order the veal shanks ahead from your butcher. Choose a very large casserole, as the veal shanks need to sit in a single layer. I use a 30 cm diameter casserole.
70g–140g (½-1 cup) flour
250ml (1 cup) chardonnay
250ml (1 cup) beef stock
400g tin whole, peeled Italian tomatoes in their juice (roughly chopped)
½ tsp finely chopped thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
3-4 parsley sprigs
flaky sea salt &freshly ground black pepper
50g (5 tbsp) butter
115g (1) small onion (finely chopped)
320g–360g (3) medium carrots (finely diced)
120g–130g (2) small celery sticks (finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
3 strips of lemon peel (with white pith removed)
90mls (5 tbsp) olive oil
1.5kg–1.65kg (8) 4cm thick veal shanks (prepared by butcher in the ossobuco style)
Pre heat oven to 180°C. In a heavy based, preferably cast iron, large casserole, set over a medium heat, place butter and melt. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook stirring occasionally for 6 – 7 minutes, or until onion is soft but not coloured.
Add garlic and lemon peel and cook a further 2 – 3 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Remove from heat.
Tip flour onto a plate and toss veal shanks in flour to coat, shaking off any excess.
Place a heavy based fry pan onto a medium high heat and add oil.
When the oil is hot, add veal shanks to pan and brown thoroughly all over. Remove shanks from frypan using a slotted spoon and sit on top of the vegetables in the casserole.
Pour off excess oil from the frypan. Pour wine into fry pan and simmer over a medium heat to reduce by half, at the same time scraping the base and sides of the fry pan to remove any cooking residues. Pour wine over the shanks in the casserole.
Place stock, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, parsley and seasonings into the fry pan, bring to a simmer and then add to casserole. The liquid should cover 2/3 of the depth of the shanks. If it doesn’t add a little more stock.
Place casserole over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Place lid on casserole and place casserole in the lower half of the pre heated oven.
Cook for 2 hours or until the meat feels very tender when prodded with a fork, and the sauce has thickened. Turn shanks approximately every 20 minutes during the cooking time so they brown evenly. If there is insufficient liquid for serving, thin liquid down with a little water. Taste for seasoning.
To serve: present veal shanks with sauce and vegetables poured over the shanks. Accompany with mashed potatoes, noodles or rice and green vegetables or salad.