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Credit: John Sherlock courtesy of Doglas & McIntyre

For the best-tasting osso bucco, make sure to choose veal hind shanks

For a succulent dinner dish, look no further than Rob Feenie's recipe for braised osso buco

Traditionally, osso bucco is made with veal shanks cut from the top of the thigh, which has a higher proportion of meat to bone. The shank is then cross-cut into sections about two inches thick.

Make sure the butcher gives you good-quality hind shanks, which are meatier than the fore ones.

The caper and olive jus goes just beautifully with this meat. Serve it with risotto or soft polenta.

Ingredients

  • 6  veal shanks, each 2 inches thick
  • 6  Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1  onion, in 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 2  carrots, peeled, in 1/4-inch dice
  •   (about 1 cup)
  • 2  ribs celery, in 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 2  cups dry red wine
  • 4  cups veal stock
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 6  canned Roma tomatoes, crushed
  •   Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2  bay leaves
  • 1  sprig fresh rosemary
  • 5  sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1  Tbsp. capers, rinsed
  • ½  cup green olives, rinsed, pitted
  •   and chopped
  • ⅛  cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ⅛  cup choppped fresh chives

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Cut 6 pieces of kitchen string, each 20 to 22 inches long.
  3. Lay out one piece of string, vertically, on a clean work surface. Place a shank on top, cross the string over the meat and tie it like a package to keep the meat in shape and on the bone. Repeat with the remaining shanks.
  4. Using paper towels, pat each shank dry then season with salt and black pepper.
  5. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil on medium heat, add shanks (in batches, if necessary, to prevent crowding the pan) and sear both sides until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer shanks to a large roasting pan or a Dutch oven.
  6. Add onion, carrots and celery to the frying pan and cook until they are golden brown and soft, about 10 minutes. Add red wine and cook for 3 more minutes.
  7. Pour the vegetable-wine mixture over the veal shanks.
  8. Add veal stock, garlic, tomatoes, lemon zest, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme to the pan, then cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil. Place the roasting pan (or Dutch oven) in the oven and cook for 3 to 3-1/2 hours, or until shanks are fork tender.
  9. Transfer cooked shanks to a large bowl and set aside.
  10. Strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a large saucepan. Discard the solids.
  11. Skim the fat off the top of the braising liquid and then cook on medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. (You should have almost 2 cups. Add a little water, if you have much less.)
  12. Stir in capers and olives.
  13. Reduce the heat to low, then return shanks to the sauce to heat through.
  14. Just before serving, add parsley and chives.
  15. Transfer shanks to a clean work surface, cut off and discard the kitchen string and arrange on a serving platter. Pour the sauce over the shanks and serve.

Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Serves 6.

Recipe excerpted from Rob Feenie's Casual Classics: Everyday Recipes for Family and Friends (Douglas & McIntyre, 2012) and reprinted with permission from the publisher.