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I do rather resent it when people refuse to eat something they’d never even tasted. They say they DON’T LIKE this or that but then admit they’d never tried it so I’m always asking ‘How the hell do you know you don’t like it???’
Sometimes it’s the look of things: unfamiliar, unaccustomed. I can sort of understand someone saying ‘I won’t eat mussels because I don’t like the look of them’ because I myself draw a line at insects (shudder, shudder). But if you want to be judgemental you might say it’s a sign of narrow-mindedness, lack of understanding of different cultures or just being plain spoilt (never had it rough).
So I usually scorn and frown at people who will push perfectly edible food to the side of their plates and leave it to waste – with one exception: bone marrow. I will snatch bones off anyone’s plates (mind, NOT strangers) and suck them clean in bliss, true zombie-style.
So it’s easy to see that for me osso buco is just a bits of meat attached to the centrepiece – the marrow bone. Rightly so because osso buco means 'hollow bone'. But that's not entirely serious: the shin of veal is delicious, actually much better than a lamb shank, equally cheap, cooks all by itself and is a joy to eat – just leave the marrow to me.
osso bucoServings: 2Time: about 3 hours
- 1 osso buco (thick cut veal shin with the marrow bone in the middle) per person
- 30g dried porcini mushrooms
- a little plain flour to coat the veal
- salt and pepper
- 20g butter
- a little oil for frying
- 1 carrot, diced finely
- ½ onion, diced finely
- 100ml dry white wine
- 100ml tomato passata or half a tin chopped peeled tomatoes
- 1 tsp concentrated beef stock or half a stock cube
1. Soak the porcini mushrooms in boiling water and leave them to cool. Reserve the soaking liquid and dissolve the stock concentrate in it.
2. Season the veal with salt and pepper and dust on both sides with flour.
3. If you have a cast iron casserole that heats up well on the hob, melt the butter and oil in it and fry the veal, two minutes on each side and remove onto a plate. Add the carrot and onion to the dish and cook until slightly softened. If your casserole doesn’t heat up enough to fry the meat (like mine), do it in a frying pan and tip the vegetables straight into the heated up, as much as it will go,casserole dish with a little extra butter.
4. When the carrot and onion are softened, increase the heat and pour in the wine. Let it bubble, then add the drained, roughly chopped porcini, the passata or tomatoes, the mushroom soaking liquid with stock and stir well.
5. Put the meat back into the pan in a single layer, spoon the sauce over it so it’s just covered – add water if needed. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5. Bring the osso buco to the boil and put in the oven. Cook for 2 – 2 ½ hours until completely tender and the sauce has reduced to quite thick consistency – uncover the dish for the last half an hour if it hasn’t.
6. Serve with rice, orzo pasta, a jacket potato or just some crusty bread and green vegetables.