One of my favourite dishes would be Cassoulet, which comprises of Lamb gigot chops, Toulouse sausages, and confit duck leg, all stewed in haricot beans in a tomato sauce. Delicious and actually was my exam piece in Ballymaloe. So, when on a recent stint back cooking for the Lebrocqueys, Anne asked me to cook Osso Buco, which are veal shanks in a light vegetable stew.
There is one massive problem with these types of dishes. As they are part of a culture and have been passed down the generations by generally word of mouth, there is no set ‘go to’ classic recipe for them. I frantically went through all my cookbooks and enlisted the help of the fantastic Lorraine aka @itallianfoodie on Twitter (Who’s La Cucina restaurant just got a fantastic review from Tom Doorley in the Irish Daily Mail and won Best Casual dining restaurant in the Irish Restaurant Awards).
Now before I get onto the recipe, just a quick note on Veal. It was tricky to get, particularly the shank cut in the certain way (You’ll see from the photos late) but I think there is still a lot of stigma attached to cooking with it. Let me just say that traditionally, yes the methods of farming and slaughtering veal calves was cruel. However conventional methods have modernised the process and the age of the calves is considerablely older than say for instance, spring lamb, where the market has driven unscrupulous producers to push the product out earlier in the year and hence the lambs are slaughtered a lot younger. For more on this stuff, check out Happy Meat
Ok so enough of that political stuff; let’s get down to the yummy stuff.
- 1 kg of veal shank cut horizontally in 5cm wedges
- 3 carrots
- 3 onions
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 stick of celery
- Olive oil
- Glass of white wine
- 500ml of good beef/chicken stock
- Bouquet garni (Parsley stalk, bay leaf, and thyme tied together)
- 1 rind of a lemon, finely chopped
- Bunch of Basil
Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Heat some oil in a large heavy weight dish, big enough so you can fit all the veal shank flat in one layer. Next dust the shanks in seasoned flour, notice the way from the photo how they’re cut (I spent ages on the phone to the butcher, trying to describe ‘Flowers of meat’). Next brown off the shanks until you get a nice caramelisation-type crust.