|Oven-Braised Osso Buco with Orzo "Risotto"|
Earlier this year, I was in my local Sprouts Farmers Market when the weather was warm when I saw osso buco on sale. I didn't purchase it because I knew it had to be braised and wanted to wait for cooler weather. Ever since, I've looked whenever I went by and they hadn't had it in their bins, so when Whole Foods opened a highly anticipated location nearby a couple of weeks ago, I went and found some. I've certainly braised in the past (It's my favorite cooking method) but not this protein. Osso buco is a cross-cut section of a veal shank and is traditionally served with a saffron risotto, but saffron isn't the cheapest spice and I wanted to find an alternative.
Work with a protein I'd never prepared.
This Emeril Lagasse dish can be found on foodnetwork.com, but I decided to season my shanks with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper instead of Chef Lagasse's dry rub. It's a personal preference but something called the Essence of Emeril didn't sound very appetizing.
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 veal shanks, about 1 1/2 inches thick, tied tightly around the middle with kitchen string
3 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 1/2 cups diced carrots
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 1/4 cups dry red wine
1 1/2 quarts rich veal or beef stock
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 pounds orzo pasta (uncooked)
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, for garnish
1. Braise the shanks: Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Season the shanks with salt and pepper then dredge them in flour, shaking to remove any excess. Sear the shanks in the oil until brown on all sides, working in batches if necessary, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Remove the shanks to a roasting pan and set aside. Add the mirepoix items (i.e. carrots, celery and onions) to the Dutch oven and cook until softened and browned, approximately 4 to 6 minutes. Season the mirepoix with the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Deglaze the Dutch oven with the red wine, add the stock and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture over the shanks in the roasting pan, cover and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours or until the shanks are tender.
2. Prepare the risotto: Remove the roasting pan from the oven and stir in the orzo and parsley. Recover and place back in the oven for an additional 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and stir to combine, then cover and rest for 10 minutes. Serve immediately, 1 shank per person on top of a bed of orzo. Garnish with grated Parmesan and parsley.
When I purchased my shanks, I chose them from the bins in the meat section. I should have spoken to the butcher at the meat counter because the shanks I purchased were too thin and the kitchen twine became loose easily so the meat fell off of the bone. The flavors of the dish were still very good but I was disappointed there wasn't much contrast in color. Lastly, my 5 year old daughter asked to photograph the dish and took the picture below.