Sep 03

Osso Buco on Roasted Garlic White Bean Puree



Osso Buco on Bean Puree



I could no longer put this one off … despite the warm-ish weather I made Osso Buco anyway. I really was saving this recipe for a rainy day but it would seem the weather gods are having a bit of a laugh at my expense. Not wanting the beautiful shanks to sit in the fridge for too long, I relented. Osso buco has been on my list of things to do for a while and I have now plucked up the courage to attempt it.


Osso buco literally means ‘bone with a hole’ … which makes sense, I guess, once you unravel the mystery behind the posh sounding name. It is made using veal shanks, cut in cross sections and braised until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Traditionally, the dish is served á la Milanese: flavoured simply with carrots, onions, celery, and served atop a pile of vivid saffron risotto or with gremolata. Modern day variations include cooking the meat in wine and tomatoes, and can be served with anything from pasta to rice. My recipe today is one with tomato puree, Worchestershire sauce and served with a roasted garlic white bean puree.    



veal shanks



Begin by getting yourself a few nice chunks of veal or beef shanks … not too thin. I never noticed this cut of meat before at my local butchers, but ever since I have been thinking about making osso buco I suddenly realized that even the supermarkets sell these. They cost about € 3 a piece … and I thought they were meant to be cheap cuts, sheesh! Most of it is bone, but you’ll still get plenty of meat around.   Beef shanks come from the leg portion of beef cattle. Since cattle are always on the move, these legs are highly muscular and the meat is tough and sinewy. Don’t even think about pan-frying these. Your best (and only) bet is to braise them long and gentle in a flavoured broth, which in turn will become the most awesome gravy to pour over your mash with.



osso buco_cow-diagram

Picture source: http://www.stubbsbbq.com/the-pit/everything-bbq/cow-cuts-101



Like oxtails, after braising, these chunks of meat will be very succulent, the marrow will melt to enrich the sauce and all that collagen will give you the most luxurious, velvety feel. In short, it’s heaven on a plate.



Osso Buco on Roasted Garlic White Bean Puree

4 slices of veal / beef shanks

1 large red onion, finely chopped

2 sticks celery, finely chopped

1 small carrot, finely chopped

1 clove garlic

1 tsp Provençale dried herb mix

1 tbsp plain flour, to thicken sauce

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce

150 mls white wine

200 mls beef / chicken stock / water

sprig of rosemary

salt and pepper



Chop all the vegetables roughly the same size. In this case I am opting for a fairly small dice. Set them aside.


Pat the shanks dry on both sides, then sprinkle salt and pepper on the top side. We will season the other side once they are browning in the pan. Also brush some oil directly on the meat.


Heat a heavy pot or skillet on high heat until smoking. Add the meat to brown off on both sides.



Osso Bucco3



Once both sides are nice and brown, remove them from the pan and place them into a stewing pot of your choice. It can be a Dutch oven, a ceramic baking dish, or a deep roasting pan. All these options will require you to cook the meat the conventional way, i.e: long and slow, either in the oven or on the stove top. I don’t have the patience for that, so when I want a stew I bring out my trusty ‘ol pressure cooker. It is small but just enough for two. Chuck in a sprig of thyme or rosemary, and a few extra carrots.



Osso Bucco4




In the same pan, sautée off the onions, garlic, celery and carrots that you had diced up earlier. Add some salt to draw out excess moisture.


Deglaze the pan with white wine and Worchestershire sauce. Allow the alcohol to cook off and let the liquid reduce. Then add the tomato paste and the dried herbs.


Add the flour and work it into the paste. Cook for a couple minutes then add in the broth or plain water. Because I am using a pressure cooker I am using fairly little amount of liquid since not much liquid is lost during cooking. If you are going to be slow roasting in the oven or simmering on the stove top, you may want to up the liquid amount. I don’t want a runny sauce, hence why I am limiting the amount of water I added to this recipe.


Once the sauce is ready, pour it all over the meat in the pot, clap on the lid and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes on the lowest fire. If you are slow braising in the oven, cover the meat and sauce with a large piece of parchment paper (cartouche), followed by a sheet of aluminium foil tucked firmly round the edges of the pan. Poke holes in the top for steam to escape. Shove it in the oven for 90 mins at 160°C, then remove the coverings, bump up the heat to 180°C for the last 30 mins.


Once cooked remove the lid / foil covering and skim off any excess fat from the surface. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove the sprig of rosemary. Set the osso buco aside in a warm place, and get your white bean puree on.



IMG_5820 (640x427)



osso buco_white beans



Get yourself a jar of cooked white beans, a half a head of garlic, unsalted butter, single cream and seasoning.


Place head of garlic in a sheet of foil, twist and roast for an hour in a hot oven. Meanwhile, pop all the beans in a pot with some water. Cover and simmer to heat through.


Place roasted garlic, cooked beans, butter, cream and seasoning into a food processor. Blitz to desired consistency.


If you feel roasted garlic a tad pungent for your taste, then add garlic powder instead for a subtle flavour.



Osso Bucco6



Serve up by dolloping a generous amount of bean puree in the middle of the plate. Drizzle with olive oil and top with the pieces of met. The bone will have a gooey, gelatinous center filled with marrow … not to be missed!! … so serve up one per portion too. If you want healthy accompaniments to this dish, then I suggest almond green beans or bread crumbed asparagus with parmesan.


I have plated this in a rather hoity-toity fashion, but osso buco is in fact a rustic dish, and there is no reason why you can’t simply plonk the entire roasting pot smack bang in the middle of the dinner table for all to help themselves. Casual or formal, this dish was made to impress in the flavour department. It is rich and it is a filling meal, so a little goes a long way.



Osso Bucco5



Perfect for Fall-Winter entertaining … it is relatively easy to do and it is cheap. Plus, your guests will loooooove you for serving this up. During the colder months of the year, R. and I very regularly use the pressure cooker for stews and braises. It produces the yummiest food and it saves me time and money (on gas). Everybody should own one, if you don’t already.


Well enjoy this one folks and I hope you end up making some for yourself and family. Have fun in the kitchen.



~ Enjoy! ~



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