The Italian cousin to beef bourguignon, Osso Buco is a staple of Northern Italy. Traditionally made with slow braised veal shanks (veal leg), our Get Cheffy version swaps out the veal for more readily available beef shoulder/chuck. Think of Osso Buco as a fancy way of saying “beef pot roast”, with some unique flavors (lemon, white wine, etc.).
Osso Buco likes to be served with mashed potatoes, polenta, pasta, or risotto.
FOR THE OSSO BUCO:
- 4-6lbs of beef chuck cubed into large, 1-2 inch portions
- As mentioned above, if you can get your hands on veal, and prefer to try this recipe in the more traditional manner, the instructions on cooking times below will remain the same.
- 1-2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 Medium onions, cut into a large dice
- 2 Medium carrots cut into a large dice
- 2 Medium ribs of celery cut into a large dice
- 4-6 Garlic cloves minced
- 2-3 Cups dry white wine
- 2-3 Cups chicken broth
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 28oz can of whole tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoons tomato paste
- Zest of 4-6 lemons
- 1 Teaspoon black peppercorns
- Begin by browning your beef in a large cast iron dutch oven or roasting pan. Your large cubes of beef will shrink considerably after they’re done cooking, so keep the chunks larger than you feel they need to be when you break down your beef chuck into large pieces. Sprinkle two teaspoons table salt over your beef, and heat 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in your dutch oven over medium/medium-high heat. You won’t need to be too fussy with it all, but try to add your beef in a single layer to the bottom of the dutch oven where each piece is coming in contact with the bottom of the pan (if some pieces don’t touch the bottom, don’t fuss; there’ll be additional opportunity to attain browning in the oven). Allow your beef to sear for 3-5 minutes over medium/medium-high heat (lowering your heat if need be to prevent burning). After you’ve browned your beef, add all of your roughly chopped vegetables to the pot along with an additional teaspoon of table salt (stay on the side of less salt to begin with; you’ll be reducing this sauce down to a concentrated gravy at the end of cooking and too much salt will make your gravy inedible). Add your tomato paste and unground black peppercorns, and stir to combine, continuing over medium/medium-high heat for another 3-5 minutes adjusting your burner temperature as needed. Add your white wine, chicken stock, and whole tomatoes with their juice and stir to combine. Ideally you want your liquid to almost cover the beef and vegetables, so adjust with more wine, stock, or water until you get the proper amount of liquid in whatever cooking vessel you’re using. Ideally, you should still see the top 1/4 of the beef cubes poking up and out of the cooking liquid. Set your oven racks to their lowest positions, and turn your oven to 350 degrees. While your oven preheats, bring your dutch oven to a boil on top of the stove. Once your liquid boils, reduce down to a simmer, and add your bay leaves. Stir to combine, and then carefully move your dutch oven into the 350 degree oven uncovered. We put our braises into the oven uncovered, because we want the exposed portions of beef, that aren’t submerged in liquid, to be exposed to the heat of the oven to promote additional browning. Allow your beef to braise in the oven at 350, uncovered, for 60-90 minutes. At this point, remove your dutch oven and bring it back to the stove top. Stir, and recombine the ingredients to expose other pieces of beef that were previously submerged in the cooking liquid. Place the dutch oven back into the 350 degree oven for an additional 60-90 minutes, depending on how large your beef cubes are.
- After 2-3 hours total, check on your beef, and remove it from the oven. A large cube of beef should be fork tender at this point, and the tines of a fork should be able to slide in, and out, of the beef with little to no resistance. Once you’re pleased with the texture and tenderness of your beef, carefully lift out all of the beef pieces, and set aside on a plate to cool. Get a second stock pot, and fine mesh strainer, and begin to ladle in your cooking liquid, and vegetables, by gently pressing these solids into, and through, the strainer (you may need to empty the strainer a few times as it fills up). You can reserve your vegetables and set them aside to re-add to your sauce later (making a more “country”, or “homestyle” sauce). However, for a more sauce-like consistency, you’ll want to strain all solids out, only leaving the flavorful cooking liquid. More than likely, your cooking liquid will need to be de-fatted. Once strained, bring your liquid to a boil while your meat continues to rest, and you’ll be able to “pool” the fat into isolated areas of the pot making it easy to spoon out. It is at this point where personal preference, and tastes, will determine how you’ll proceed; in other words…it is at this point that you’ll be Getting Cheffy…… Reduce your cooking liquid down by about half, and then turn your heat to low to begin tasting and adjusting. Your sauce will more than likely taste rich, but “flat” at this point. Add additional white wine, or lemon juice, in tablespoon increments until you have something that tastes more balanced and complex. Adjust for salt, and ground black pepper as well. Remember, you want this sauce to be strongly seasoned, and flavorful as it’ll have to stand up to the prominent flavor of the beef. If you’re guessing how far to reduce your sauce, stay on the side of a “thinner” sauce, and resist the temptation to boil it down into tar. Your meat will be recombined with this sauce, and will “drink” quite a bit of it as it sits together, so learn from our mistakes, and keep it lighter. Take a look over at your resting beef and use that quantity to eye ball how much sauce your beef might like to nestle into. Once your sauce has reduced to the consistency you like, and you’ve balanced for final salt, pepper, and additional acids (like wine or lemon juice), turn off your heat and begin to tear your resting beef into smaller 1/2 inch to 1 inch chunks. Your hands will be your best tools for this job, as you’ll find stubborn fat woven into lean chunks of beef, and your hands will make the quickest, and most agile, tools for pulling any lingering fat chunks off of your beef (paper towels are a great way to grab a slippery hunk of fat and remove it from the lean beef). Add your lean beef into the gravy, and add your lemon zest. Stir to combine, and cover. Allow the beef to sit in the gravy for 10-15 minutes to allow it to absorb the sauce (covering your dutch oven and placing it back into the still-warm oven is a great spot to allow the sauce, and the meat time to get to know one another). Remove, and serve with a pasta, risotto, potatoes, polenta, or other starch.
GET CHEFFY TIP!– There isn’t much one can do to improve on this dish. However, additional flavoring (like parsley, rosemary, and even honey), have been seen in recipes for Osso Buco. The real opportunity to make this dish your own, is in the reduction of your sauce. Most of our Get Cheffy braises are finished this way, and the reduction of cooking liquid really “boils” down to personal taste #cookingjokes. If you like a more bracing, acidic sauce, add in more fresh wine, lemon juice, or even white vinegar at the end. Still missing something?…..swirl in a teaspoon of honey into your reduced sauce before adding your beef. You won’t taste “sweetness” or “sugarey-ness” but you’ll lift the entire dish in a subtle way by learning how to incrementally change the taste of something. This technique of incremental adjustments will improve all of your cooking (and you’ll be Getting Cheffy all over the place).