Osso Buco – Hollow Bones
I’m sure we all have our own ‘labels’ for various things – Aldi and Lidl in our house are referred to as Random Tat or, sometimes Tandom Rat; but what do you call your hunt for bargains?
Every supermarket seems to use yellow stickers for their reduced goods, so BOGG (Big Ol’ Grumpy Git) knows exactly where I’m going when I yell, “I’m off yellow stickering!”
I know that M&S isn’t the cheapest place to grab a bargain, but it’s the nearest place to me, so I do venture in a couple of times a month.
When yellow stickering, I’m frequently asked, ‘When’s the best time to go?’; unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be a regular time as I’ve gone in the morning and there have been a few yellow stickers; it used to be between 5pm and 6pm, which was good for rich pickings, but now it seems 4pm – 5pm is the prime time.
My best haul was a few weeks back when I nabbed a pack of ham, two tubs of Cornish cream, organic broccoli, a bag of organic carrots, Muscat grapes, two packs of apples and a white cabbage, all for £5.13!
But my best buy has to be a free range, organic turkey that I bought between Boxing Day and New Year a couple of years back; originally priced at £65.50, to me – £6.50!
My latest purchase was a pack of rose veal osso buco (the translation is hollow bones) reduced from £7.29 to £3.90.
Some of you may think that I’m letting the side down by not buying from a local producer or from the farmers’ market, but I too have to budget and as much as I would love to buy from my favourite producers all the time, I can’t, so I do the next best thing to try and save food destined for the bin!
Anyway back to the veal shin! The use by date was the 18th April – I cooked it yesterday on the 20th; it was perfectly fine.
Using a slow cooker , it was left to strut its funky stuff for most of the afternoon!
So here’s my simple recipe for the classic Italian dish. If you don’t have a slow cooker, oven cook it in a casserole for about 3 hours at 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3 or until the meat falls from the bones.
As with a lot of my recipes, measurements ain’t what you’d call exact. Most recipes call for the vegetable holy trinity (carrot, onion, celery), I didn’t have the latter, so didn’t bother using, but if you do, it’s a finely chopped stick.
Lea’s Osso Buco for Two
2 pieces of veal shin
Flour, salt and pepper
Knob of butter and a large splash of oil
1 carrot, finely diced
1 medium onion or a couple of shallots, thinly sliced
3 bay leaves
Sprig of thyme
Zest of half a lemon (whole if the lemon is small)
1 large glass white wine
300mls/10floz stock (I used beef stock but chicken or veg works too)
Mix flour and seasoning together on a plate and coat both sides of the meat.
Heat butter and oil in a pan and brown the shins. Remove and put to one side.
Put the herbs, carrots and meat into your slow cooker (or casserole if using a conventional oven).
Pop the onion into the pan the meat was in and cook gently. Add the wine and let it bubble away for a few minutes. Add the stock and lemon, bring back to the boil and then pour over meat and veg.
Pop on the lid and set the slow cooker to high (or whatever the equivalent is on your make), or pop the casserole into the oven.
After an hour reduce the heat on your slow cooker and let it bubble away for about 3 or 4 hours or until the meat falls off the bone. For those using an oven, cook for about 3 hours.
Osso buco is normally served with risotto Milanese (saffron risotto) and sprinkled with gremolata – a blend of chopped lemon zest, parsley and garlic.
If you don’t want the faff of making risotto, mash works just as well or even soft polenta.
As an alternative, you can leave the osso buco to cool and then place in the fridge overnight; the fat will float to the top and harden. Discard fat (or keep it for roasting spuds), reheat meat until hot all the way through.
Felicity Cloake’s article makes for an interesting read and offers a variation of my recipe.
© Lea Harris, In the Kitchen with BakersBunny, 2019.