There is something simply satisfying about braised meat. I remember the first time I had Osso Buco, I was with my wife in a trendy restaurant, and to this day I can almost taste the rich sauce oozing from the meat into the delicate potato risotto. I have many times tried to re-create that moment, the perfect marriage of slow braised beef melting into a sauce for the side of rice or potatoes. Unfortunately there was usually something missing. It wasn’t until recently that I clued in to the problem, it was right before me and when I realized what it was I felt like a total culinary-tard… the issue was me. I was too cheap to buy the right cut of meat. Thinking I was being clever, I substituted sirloin or round not realizing that the real star of this dish is the marrow located in the bone of the shank. So with this knowledge now in hand I have created a take off from a traditional osso buco and I dare say it tastes real good!
What you need (I cooked this for 4 people):
- 2 pieces of cross cut shank (about 1kg/2-3 pounds)
- 2 eggplants cut into quarters
- 6 small to medium potatoes
- 1 medium sweet potato 1cm dice
- 3 carrots 1cm dice
- 6 pearl onions peeled and left whole
- 3-4 baby beets
- 2 heads of garlic top cut off and left whole
- 3 medium tomatoes grated
- 3/4 bottle red wine
- 1-2 cups beef stock
- Flour for dredging
- A little oil for browning the beef
- A good handful of your favourite herbs (I used rosemary, oregano, and sage)
- Salt and pepper to taste
How it’s done:
- Don’t skip this step. Place the beef in a bowl with the wine, herbs, and the garlic. Marinate for 1 hour on the countertop or overnight in the fridge.
- Next, dredge the beef in flour and brown well on each side.
- Add all the ingredients into a roasting pan and braise for 2 hours at 180C (350F).
- Check periodically, making sure that you have enough liquid (usually I have the opposite problem and therefore have to cook longer).
- When the sauce has thickened and the meat is ready to fall off the bone, pull it out and let cool a couple of minutes before slicing it.
- Serve with the sauce drizzled over the vegetables, enjoy.