And I do mean big. The two veal shank I purchased are not really individual portions, so they will be served family style tonight. I love a good braising of a large piece of meat. A tough shank cut is just challenging you to dress it up, make it the most heavenly morsel you can ingest. The veal shank, when braised, turns into something delicate and delectable. And the real prize is the osso buco, the bone itself. Scoop out the luscious marrow and spread it on a piece of crusty bread... divine.
2 Cross Cut Veal Shanks, about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds each
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 dried bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup beef stock
3 tbsp Madeira
Make sure your veal shank is tied so that the meat does not fall away from the bone when cooking. Salt and pepper the veal shank and coat with flour, shaking off any excess. Brown all sides of the shank in a medium sized cast iron stock pot. I used half butter, half olive oil. Remove the shank and all but 1 tbsp of oil. Brown the mirepoix of chopped carrots, celery, and onion. Then add in the bay leaf, thyme and rosemary. Deglaze pan with wine, then add in chicken and beef stocks and madeira. Return the veal shanks to the pot along with tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, cover and let simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on the size of the shanks. Check on them from time to time and turn or rotate them gently.
Once veal shanks are very tender, remove them from the pot onto a clean pan and cover with foil. You don't want them sitting out as they will become dry on the outside. Strain the liquid from the pot using a fine mesh sieve pressing on the solids to get all the flavorful juices from them. Return the strained sauce to the pot and reduce the sauce a bit by letting it boil rapidly over medium high heat. Adjust seasoning, salt and pepper as needed. Return the shanks to the pot to reheat them.
The other day, as I was cleaning my vegetable beds for the season, I came across another 10 pounds in potatoes. Where had they been hiding? I found some quite large potatoes as well as these baby baby ones, which I roasted with some smoky bacon (left from making bacon dashi for tomorrow night's meal) to serve with the osso buco. The new baby potatoes do not hold, so should be eaten right away.
Osso buco, a delight. So very, very good! Even better than it smelled, said Stella!