Monday, December 19, 2005

The Gift of Gluttony: Part One - The Osso Buco Veal Shanks Recipe

Pam of Daily Gluttony recently wrote an honest-to-goodness entry about the importance of family, friends and, of course, food. These three are closely intertwined within our daily lives and with every passing moment involving the three, they should be cherished and never taken for granted. Mealcentric, sadly, has also lost a friend who he had shared many moments with while dining. In respect to the fore-mentioned, even the simplest of foods can bring about a smile or reassurance that you actually matter to someone. I couldn’t agree more. It could be slicing up those juicy, Korean pears for your parents. Going on a carne asada burrito run for your friend who says he’s hungry, but has just completely passed out in the back of the car. Wait, that was me in the back of the car. Making chicken noodle soup or porridge for someone feeling under the weather. For me, a bowl of porridge with green onions, fried egg and a little Maggi Sauce brought a smile to my face when I was sick. Only because Mom made it. It’s little moments like these that matter the most.

For me, cooking is one of the best ways to show appreciation for one’s friendship and love. You devote your own time in making sure that they get something yummy in their tummy because it makes them happy. You’re also keeping them one step further away from being on a Sally Struthers infomercial, or being pictured on one of those donation boxes at Ralph’s. This Christmas, I’ve decided to invite friends over for a culinary present. One, because I love to wreak havoc in the kitchen. Two, I am too broke to buy gifts for all the good children of the world. (Thank you, advertising industry.) And three, I want to make sure that my friends gluttonize and make unfulfillable resolutions for the New Year - like working out at the gym. I love to hear that kind of bullshit.

My first guest was MLT, whom I met back in college in ICS classes, which stands for Information & Computer Science. Once upon a time, I believed that I would be writing programs. *Scoff. I bailed out of that major after one semester of pure hell. But, she was fortunately there to provide “aide” for me before I left. Most people know it as cheating, but who cares. We also attended a wedding together this year and like a total jerk, I left my date alone because I was too busy getting inebriated and dancing with other girls. Only a friend would forgive you for such behavior. And I thank her for that.

Me: “Hey, what do you wanna eat?”
MLT: “I like veal.”
Me: “Well I can attempt to make the Osso Buco dish I had at C&O’s?”
MLT: “Sounds good. What should I bring?”
Me: “Wine. Lots of it. After we eat and drink, we’ll go to a bar and I’ll leave you by yourself while I go talk to other girls.”
MLT: “Asshole.”

I studied a few Osso Buco recipes off Epicurious and Food Network. Here’s a tip for those that love to cook. Look up at least 5 different recipes when you plan on making something. Just because Rachael Ray can teach you how to make it in less than thirty minutes doesn’t mean it’ll taste the same. She does use shortcuts because of the time allotment on her show, and a lot of times, compromises the true taste of a particular dish. Emeril loves to desecrate a dish by adding way too much alcohol and garlic just to hear his audience bark like seals at Sea World. It’s important to find the common ingredients that make the dish what it is. Once you’ve memorized the essential ingredients, you can simply add your own twist to it. Only then, can you call it ‘your own’ recipe.

This dish was chosen also because it was an excuse for me to buy a Le Creuset pot - one of the nicest kitchen tools ever. You’ve all seen it. It’s that big, blue or flame red ceramic Dutch oven that all the Food Network hosts use to sauté their mire poix (onions, carrots, celery – what I refer to as OCC) and braise heavenly food. I got a tip about the Le Creuset from Immaeatchu and proceeded to search the internet for the best price. Turns out that I got a good deal at Tuesday Morning, which sells brand name stuff for 50-80% off. I got my brand new, 7.25 qt pot for $144.99 – retailed at $299.99.

I then went to shop for the veal shanks, the main ingredient for the Osso Buco dish. Whole Foods and Bristol Farms wanted to charge me $13/lb and a free raping at the same time. Fuck that. When you need four veal shanks, are YOU going to pay $52 for that? I was driving down Santa Monica Blvd. after an interview last week and happened to see a Kosher meat deli. What is the difference between a Kosher meat deli and say, Ralph’s? The Jewish method of slaughtering an animal requires only one stroke of the blade to the throat of the animal, and is then bled dry. After it is bled completely, it can then be sold to consumers. I was like, "Give me 4 shanks please." I got my four veal shanks for $17 total. Was it good quality? Hmm…. *hint. I AM STILL ALIVE.

Here we go:

(1) Veal shanks are tender, obviously because they are baby cows. Veal is kept within tight, dark quarters and fed milk to tenderize the meat. Unlike Kobe style beef, the young cows are not massaged and fed beer and corn. Right about now, I’m getting e-mails from PETA about this posting, so I better hurry and complete this.

(2) Tie the shanks with butcher twine to bind the tender meat with the bone. One simple knot is fine, just make sure it’s tight. Dredge all sides of the veal shanks with flour that’s been seasoned with S&P. Brown the shanks and remove from the Dutch oven.

(3) Prepare mire poix. Mire poix is the quintessential ingredient for any type of stock, whether it be chicken, beef, veal or lamb. It consists of 2 parts onion to 1 part carrots and 1 part celery. Sauté these in a Dutch oven with EVOO and butter. After about 10-12 minutes, they will become translucent and somewhat brown. Add the shanks back in and add Chianti wine to about the halfway line on the shanks. Submerse the shanks with however much beef broth is needed. Toss in your bouquet garni (4 bay leaves, 4 thyme sprigs, 1/2 a tablespoon of black peppercorns), 2 garlic gloves and a little bit of olive oil. Cover and bring to boil.

(4) Once it’s boiling, toss the Dutch oven into the oven at 375-400. remember to baste the tops of the veal shanks every 20-30 minutes so that they don’t get scalded. It should be done in about 1.5 – 2 hours.

(5) Serve the shanks over linguini. Strain the braised mixture to remove the bouquet garni and mire poix. Season the sauce with S&P and butter, also known as monte au beurre, and pour sauce over shanks and linguini. Say mmmmm and enjoy.


This dish was the best thing I've ever made so far. I've never said "mmmmm" so many times besides, well, you know what. I hope you do try Osso Buco out sometime and cook for a friend and a loved one sometime soon. It'll mean a lot. As always, thank you for reading.


BoLA said...

Ooo...I love shopping at Tuesday Morning! They have some pretty nice kitchen stuff there for real cheap! =)

Can't say that I have my own Dutch oven...I'm still working on getting a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. muhaha!

Great post! Do you think Mac will make this for me??? =)

MEalCentric said...

Well written and delicious. But $52 bucks for 4 shanks? Wouldnt it just be cheaper to go to C&O?! Smart move with the jewish deli, thats thinking with the bottom line in mind.

Regarding Emeril and Rachel Ray- so true. With all his catch sayings, gimmicks, and Oh those people in the audience worshiping him, I just cant trust his take on many recipes. Those two in particular tend to really be at the extreme end of some recipes. I think Sara Moulton (when she had a show) and Tyler Florence seems to generally lie somewhere in "middle" of most recipes and their styles are usally pretty traditional.

Kirk said...

I like the Dish justifies the purchase angle - I do it all the time. Tuesday Morning is an excellent place to shop for cookware, though YMMV.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Kristy, Tuesday Morning is definitely a great store. You have a better chance of finding things if you avoid the stores located in more affluent areas, like Brentwood. Those housewives spend their days buying stuff for their next dinner party at TM. haha. Ask Mac to make it for you. I'm sure he would be glad to.

Meal, I always have something in mind to eat. Many times i've gone to checkout the prices at Whole Foods or Bristol and have changed my mind. Sometimes it's worth it to just go to a restaurant and eat. Especially if you're talking about $13 shanks. Last night i was at Ralph's looking at Chilean Seabass. Lady next to me bought 6 pieces at $19.99/lb. I looked at her and was like "you're nuts, go to a restaurant."

Tyler is a great cook. I actually have one of his books and i think he definitely knows what he's doing. Sarah Moulton on the other hand completely bores me. She needs to drink some red bull or something.

Kirk, when i plan to cook. Millions of things go through my mind:

Who's coming over? How many? How much time do i need? who has the best priced meat? cheapest price for herbs? I end up driving to like three different places to get all the ingredients. it's nuts, but i'm used to it.

Daily Gluttony said...


I hear you on the reading more than one recipe's the best way to get to some common ground on how to make the best dish.

Nice job on the osso buco!! I'll definitely have to try making this myself one a' these days!

elmomonster said...

You are a true gourmand! Thanks for this recipe. When I get the guts to make this, I don't think I'll need to check any others.

Foodie Universe said...

I had no idea they sold kitchen stuff at Tuesday Morning! That's fabulous, because I can't tolerate the prices at Sur la Table.

I too follow the multiple recipe comparison method.

Really nice photo of your dish.

Anonymous said...

The Osso Buco you made was the BEST veal I've ever had! The melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of the meat was orgasmic ;-) Thanks Dylan for the best xmas present. You truly are a great cook and a great friend. Hurry up and start your own catering business already so I can hire you to cater my wedding!


eatdrinknbmerry said...

Pam/Elmo, you must eat the marrow. it's sooooooo good. I believe some restaurants serve thei osso buco with the marrow only. No bones.

Some people won't eat veal b/c of a gamey taste, similar to that of lamb. The truth is, if something is cooked with the right ingredients, the gameyness almost dissipates.

Foodie, Tuesday Morning gets new shipments every week. If you're looking for a Le Creuset dutch oven, you can easily find one at the Westchester location. Don't bother going to the Santa Monica one... all the rich folk pilfer the store by 9am. Thanks for stopping by.

MLT, I'm glad you liked it and as always, i don't mind cooking for you.

Passionate Eater said...

Oh my man! That looks great Dyl... I mean EatDrinkNBMerry. ;) Have you ever seen the Osso Buco recipe they had on America's Test Kitchen? They gave all sorts of advice on the size of the shank and etc. Very interesting, but not nearly as good as your recipe.

J said...

hi dylan, that osso bucco looks really fantastic; what better reason than to invest in a le creuset cocotte ;)

eatdrinknbmerry said...

PE, is that the name of a show?

J, thank you. Do you have your own Le Creuset? I bet you have like 4 of them haha.

Passionate Eater said...

Hi EatDrinkNBMerry! Happy Holidays!

Yes, "America's Test Kitchen" is a name of a show on PBS where they test recipes and try to come up with the "best" one. You can visit their site here.

stacey said...

This Gluttony looks good too. I like #2 better, the bacon, mmm... I have the classic orange Creuset. I *love* it and will def be braising more in it! I want the baby Creuset ramikins!

JadedOne said...

Dammit dude... Le Creuset 7.25 dutch oven for $144? When I read that, I just had to leave you this comment. I ended up buying a Rachel Ray dutch oven (that just sounds foul) since I couldn't afford the Le Creuset.

Anyway, I love your blog and find it really inspirational. My husband and I both feel like we're in a major rut from our corporate jobs. Your experiences in The Restaurant sound awesome and it's making me want to do the same. We cook when we have time and it's very fulfilling to have the end result be yummy.

:D Check my postings out sometime.

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