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Osso Bucco I (M, TNT)
Source: "Michael Field's Cooking School," copyright 1965 and a classic.
Serves: 6-8

6-7 pounds shin of veal, sawed, not chopped, into eight 2-1/2" pieces
freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup all purpose flour
6-8 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons margarine
1 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 large leek (white part only), finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
3/4 cup grown beef or chicken stock, fresh or canned
1-1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups of pulp), or a 16 oz. can of Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped (I use home-grown whenever possible or canned - forget the tasteless store bought things)
A bouquet consisting of 6 springs fresh parsley and 2 large bay leaves (I prefer Bay Laurel), tied together

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

When you order your shin of veal from the kosher butcher (he may call it a knuckle or shank, but it's the same thing), be sure that he has left enough meat on the bone to make your labors worthwhile.

Wipe the pieces of meat with a damp cloth, pat them dry, and season them well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Coat the pieces heavily with flour, then shake off the excess accumulation.

To braise osso bucco properly, choose two large cooking utensils: a heavy cast-iron or cast-aluminum frying pan in which to brown the veal and a large shallow casserole with a tightly fitting cover, or a covered roaster, in which to brown the vegetable bed upon which the veal will ultimately rest. It is important that the casserole or roaster be only large enough to hold the veal pieces tightly packed together in one layer.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the large frying pan heat the 6 tablespoons of olive oil until it literally begins to smoke. Add a few pieces of the floured veal, and, over moderate heat, brown them on all sides as thoroughly as you can without burning them. As each piece is finished, transfer it to a large platter.

Meanwhile, over moderate heat, melt the 4 tablespoons of margarine in the casserole. When the foam subsides, add the chopped onions, carrots, celery, leek, and garlic, and cook them rather slowly, turning them frequently with a wooden spoon, until all the vegetables are lightly colored.

Then, carefully arrange the browned pieces of veal upright on the bed of vegetables, packing them together closely so that they will in effect, prop each other up; this will prevent the marrow as it cooks and shrinks from falling out of the bone.

Pour off all but a tablespoon or so of the oil remaining in the frying pan, and deglaze the pan by adding to it 3/4 cup of white wine. Bring the wine to a boil, meanwhile scraping into it all the brown sediment clinging to the bottom and sides of the pan. When the wine has boiled down to about 1/3 cup, stir in the 1/2 teaspoon each of basil and thyme and 3/4 of a cup of brown beef or chicken stock. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil, then pour it over the meat in the casserole. Scatter over the top of the chopped, drained tomatoes, and submerge in the stock the bouquet of parsley and bay leaves. The liquid in the casserole should come halfway up the sides of the meat; if it doesn't, add a little more stock.

On top of the stove, bring the casserole to a full boil, then cover it and place it on the lower-third self of the preheated oven. After 15 minutes or so, baste the veal thoroughly with the braising liquid, and add some salt and pepper if you think it needs it. The stock should barely simmer, and if for some reason (too thin a pot, perhaps, or a faulty oven gauge) it seems to be cooking too fast, turn the heat down to 325°F or even lower. The slower the osso bucco braises, the better. Baste the meat thoroughly every 15 minutes or so, until the meat is tender but not falling from the bones. This should take anywhere from an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half, depending upon the quality of the veal.

To serve, remove the osso bucco from the oven and raise the over temperature to 475°F.

Carefully transfer the pieces of veal from the casserole to a large overproof platter, and try not to lose any of the marrow in transit. Glase the veal on the upper-third shelf of the over for 5 to 10 minutes, turning the heat down if the meat shows any sign of burning.

Meanwhile, strain the casserole juices and all the vegetables through a fine sieve into a small saucepan, and, with a large spoon, press down hard on the vegetables to extract all their juice before throwing them away.

Bring the sauce to a rapid boil and continue to boil until it has reduced to a little more than half its original quantity. It should then be lightly thickened and quite intense in flavor; if it isn't boil, it down even further.

Remove the platter of veal from the oven (the meat should have a light, brilliant glaze), and pour the reduced sauce over it, reserving a little to be passed separately if you wish.

Sprinkle each piece of veal copiously with the gremolata. Serve any kind of pasta dressed simply would do almost a well.

Poster's Notes:
I have served this and received high compliments from Portuguese friends who found it better than "Moms". A high compliment so give it a try; however I don't eat the marrow. (Note can be cook on the stove top.)

Afterthoughts: Cook the veal entirely on the top of the stove if you must, but make sure the pot is a heavy one and the cover secure. Keep the heat as low as possible.

Posted by William and Susan

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A