A Mexican Recipe for Osso Buco

While English, Hebrew and Spanish are more my comfort zones, I have a little Italian lesson for you today. The name for one of the most roast-worthy meats you can buy on Grow and Behold needs a bit of translation: Osso Buco. Pronounced Ah-so – Boo-ko, osso is Italian for bone and buco Italian for hole. The name refers to a cross cut of shank meat (the shin) with a large amount of meat wrapped around a large bone that is full of savory marrow. When you get yours from Grow and Behold you will see that they package it up very nicely, stringing the meat together so that it retains its shape during the necessary long cooking time.

Now there is one very traditional way of cooking Osso Buco – Milanese style, which originated in Milan Italy (Did you guess that? Your Italian is improving already!). The recipe calls for simmering the meat in a heavy pot with white wine, bay leaf, tomato, onions, carrots – basic goodness. But it just wasn’t doing it for me, so I went in search of a more exotic preparation.

Some of the of intriguing options I came across include: a sweet, tart and colorful kumquat cranberry version, a deeply flavored Middle Eastern tajine style with sweet potato, eggplant, saffron, ginger, cinnamon and dried fruit as well as a piquant Latin preparation. Last Shabbat our dinner table was graced with the later. After dredging two pieces of meat in flour and browning it in a Dutch oven (a thick walled pot) I simmered it for an hour with roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic, caramelized onions and chipotles en adobo (you can find several kosher brands for this product in your grocery store including Roland, Embasa and Casa Fiesta).

One tradition I wouldn’t skip on is serving the dish with creamy yellow cornmeal polenta (or rice if you prefer) to soak up the sauce. Challah does that job nicely too. And if you choose to attack the spongy flavorful marrow at the center of the bone with your knife instead of your maw, I might recommend spreading it on challah too.

Osso Buco with Tomatoes and Chillies

2 cuts of osso buco
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
½ cup flour
1 head of garlic roasted (roast at 450 degrees for 20-30 minutes in skin)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup of chillies in adobo sauce
1 8oz can of roasted tomatoes
1 8oz can of whole tomatoes
2 tbsp oregano
1 cup cooked polenta or rice

Heat oven to 350º.

Season osso buco shanks with salt and pepper. Put flour on a plate and dredge meat in flour, then shake off the excess.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and stir frequently until nice and brown but not burnt, 8-20 minutes. Remove the onions from the dutch oven.

Add the remaining tbsp of oil to the dutch oven and brown meat for 5 minutes on each side.

Cut off the top of the roasted garlic head and squeeze the garlic out. Add roasted garlic, caramelized onions, tomatoes, chillies, oregano to the pot with the meat.  Bring to a simmer, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cover.

Put in the pot in the oven and continue to cook the dish for 60 – 90 minutes.

Serve hot over warm polenta with plenty of the cooking sauce.


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