Hearty and aromatic Ossobuco stew is an ultimate dish for serving on a cold day. The cross-cut shanks with the bone, are the base for the dish. They are first pan fried, and then cooked with different vegetables and liquids, depending on regional variations and personal taste.
In the recipe here, I’ve mixed a few versions into one. Similar to the original traditional recipe (“ossobuco in bianco”), I didn’t use any tomatoes in the sauce, yet, unlike in the original recipe, I substituted white wine for red wine. This time, I also didn’t use beef broth, and relied on the red wine as the only liquid. This produced wonderful aroma throughout the cooking and braising, and contributed to an extra rich sauce.
For the vegetables, I’ve used a fairly large amount of sliced onions, (as I’m very fond of smothered onions flavor and texture), along with carrots, celery and baby Bella mushrooms, that gave the sauce a deep earthy flavor.
The stew was very tasty; the beef falling off the bones, the bone marrow a special delight in itself, served on top of lightly toasted dark bread, and the vegetables absorbed the beef and red wine flavors.
Despite of generous servings, I still ended up with some leftovers. So, on the following day, I decided to add Israeli couscous to the pot. That was a good decision, as the couscous absorbed the sauce beautifully, with a soft texture, that resembled that of a flavorful creamy risotto. Next time I’ll be making this dish, I will add the couscous to it all.
The dish is very easy to prepare, as the actual cooking time is quite short, and braising is done in the oven, leaving you free to prepare the rest of the dinner. Try it and enjoy.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Braising time: 2½ hours
3 medium onions
1 large celery stalk
3 medium carrots
8 oz (227 grams) baby Bella mushrooms
3 Tbs light olive oil, divided
2 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
1.6 lbs. (725 grams) beef shank sliced with bone
2 Tbs flour
2-3 bay leaves
2½ cups red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
1 Tbs honey (preferably orange blossom)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
For cooking the leftovers:
½ cup Israeli couscous
- Peel and cut the onions in half, then sliced them lengthwise. Peel and cut the carrots in half, lengthwise, then roughly cut them, along with the celery. Remove the mushrooms legs (keep for stock), and cut into quarters.
- Heat 2 Tbs of the oil in a large, shallow pot, over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions, carrots and celery. Sauté, mixing occasionally, until the vegetables are soft. Add the mushrooms, some of the salt and pepper, and sauté, mixing occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining 1 Tbs oil to the pot. Dust the steaks with flour, salt and pepper, and add to the pot. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned.
- Add back the sautéed vegetables, the rest of salt and pepper, bay leaves, red wine, honey and mustard, and mix gently. Bring to a boil, taste and adjust seasoning. Cover the pot, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 225F (105C).
- Transfer the covered pot to the oven and braise for 2 hours. Increase the oven temperature to 250F (120C), uncover the pot and braise for 30 minutes. Serve with pasta or polenta and crusty bread on the side.
- Cooking the leftovers: remove the fat layer and bring to room temperature. Check the amount of sauce in the pot – you need 1½ cups of liquids (add stock, if needed). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, add the couscous, and mix well. Lower the heat to low, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes, or until the couscous is soft and plump.