Every so often, Ryan and I, cook together. We were seriously inspired to make Veal Osso Bucco after watching an episode of "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef", with Chef Anne Burrell, on the Food Network. She has a knack for explaining and demonstrating the details that matter. "Brown food is good, we like brown food", she says in a Cookie Monster voice. In other words, caramelize the hell out of your meat, or veggies, if you are trying to build maximum flavors in a recipe. It makes a difference, trust!
And all those brown bits of meat at the bottom of the pan, known in French, as fond...you loosen up those bits with some liquid, like wine or stock, while you are browning the shanks, and BANG! The sauce becomes much more complex in taste as a result.
Just so you know....if you plan on making Veal Osso Bucco, save your pennies first. When the butcher weighed out our shanks, and the total price came to $55 for five big shanks, we were both sweating a bit, but like we said in our wedding vows, "I promise to love, honor, respect, and not to look at you crazy when you purchase ridiculously expensive meat at the butcher shop."
With the cost being high,we both knew, there was no margin for error in preparing the dish. We could not afford to make mistakes when working with such costly ingredients. I have to say, after all was said and done, our version of Veal Osso Bucco was a real winner. We opened up a moderately priced, bright, spicy, Spanish Garnacha, to cut through the bold, rich flavors of of our veal.
To accompany the veal and sauce on the plate, we made creamy polenta, along with a gremolata of fine chopped parsley, orange zest, and minced garlic, to sprinkle as a garnish. In addition, I through together a simple butter lettuce, and frisee salad for some greenery.
I could not have been prouder of the final product. Each of our plates could have been served as $28.00 entrees at some upscale joint. Just sayin'. I hope to reproduce the whole dish for a few guests someday, as it had the 'Wow' factor you want when serving others.
Of course, Ryan put up with me taking pictures of the entire cooking process, so please enjoy.
Check out all the brown bits called fond in the bottom of the pot. That's serious flavor!
Chef Burrell suggests chopping fennel, onion, and garlic to an almost paste like consistency, and then browning your veggies. It gave the sauce body, texture, and incredible flavor.
You then add tomato paste to the veg, water, bay leaves and a bundle of thyme to your pot. The veal joins the pool, and then, in the oven it goes, to cook slow and low for a few hours.
Meanwhile, get the wine open, and enjoy a glass!
Ryan insists that this was the best photo of the plated meal. Of course, it was his plate! Although, I will credit him for insisting I try the bone marrow. Kind of like a bonus, deep beef flavored treat.
But, I thought mine was the prettiest presentation. See the way the shredded parmasean cheese and gremolata are sprinkled with care? A Chef is born.