Ossobuco: because I've given up waiting for a cold night.
I know it's boastful of me to tell you that winter thus far has been mild with warm days, sunshine streaming over papers and laptops as we've worked from home in shirtsleeves and bare feet.
Everyone knows how I moan and grumble all through winter each year, complaining about the cold. So I am very grateful for the mild temperatures. But it still leaves me hankering for winter-rich food; flavours deep from stews and curries cooked long and slow. ...... so I bought some beautiful looking osso buco, determined to create a cold night feast despite the mild weather.
I've always cooked it in the classic style, but changed it up a little today for fun. It doesn't depart too far from the original, but the addition of a chilli in the soffrito, and some saffron at the end elevate this yummy dish. I also substituted sherry for a white wine and liked the flavour very much. Try it: it's very little effort if you have all the ingredients together and some spare time to put it together quickly while you're taking a lunch break..... then leave it to cook slowly in the oven until you're ready for dinner!
We ate it tonight over soft polenta and side of garden picked leaves, and instead of the classic accompanying gremolata, I topped it with some just made chimmi churri, which was right there on hand, and a fine substitute.
6 osso bucco pieces of similar thickness and size
1/2 cup plain flour seasoned generously with salt and pepper
1/2 cup frying oil, (I prefer rice bran oil)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 small green chilli, chopped fine
2 medium sized carrots, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery diced
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry sherry
4-5 threads saffron dropped in three tablespoons of hot water
1 can chopped tomatoes
2-3 fresh tomatoes chopped (optional)
1 cup beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
grated rind of half a lemon
Set the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Pat the pieces of meat dry, then coat with the well seasoned flour.
Heat half the oil in a heavy based, wide dish with a good fitted lid.
Place the medallions of meat in the hot oil, and brown on both sides. Remove and set aside onto kitchen paper.
Wipe the pan clean, and pour in the rest of the oil.
Fry the garlic and chilli till the garlic is pale golden, at which time you should add the onion.
Stir all together until the onion is soft, adding the carrot, bay leaf, chopped parsley and celery.
Add the sherry and as the mixture bubbles, reduce the heat and place the browned meat on top of the vegetables.
Pour the can of chopped tomatoes over, as well as the stock and the saffron water.
Sprinkle the lemon rind on top and stir the pan gently without displacing the meat.
Remove from the stove at this point.
Cover the pan with the lid and place in the heated oven for 2.5 to 3 hours, checking once or twice, scooping the gravy from the sides and pouring over the top of the ossbuco: the meat should be falling off the bone when it is ready.
Serve warm with polenta, or some buttery mashed potatoes.