This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was a perfect chilly-weather comfort food dish – osso buco. Osso buco translates to “bone with a hole” and generally means round, thick slices cut crosswise from a veal shank, with meat surrounding the central hole of the bone, which is filled with marrow. I wasn’t concerned about finding the ingredients for this, though one of the other Doristas posted a photo showing she had spent $80 on this dish which I wasn’t prepared to do – sorry, Dorie – I knew I’d either be minifying this to the max or using beef.
I happen to live in a neighbourhood with two fabulous butcher shops and didn’t think to order my shanks ahead of time – each time I have been in at least one of those stores recently they have had veal shanks (or at least beef shanks, an excellent substitute) in stock. Sadly last weekend, on Friday night, there were no veal or beef shanks to be found and I went home planning to get that organised the following day. Saturday came and went and I woke up early on Sunday morning thinking “Osso Buco. Need to make today!” I phoned around a few places and noone had veal in stock, a few places had lamb but it was frozen but finally I found some fresh beef shanks which I instructed Mr Neil to collect on his way home from out of town. Bonus? 1.5kg was just $11.
This is a slow braised dish with flavours like orange, thyme, basil, Herbes de Provence along with the usual suspects of tomatoes, garlic and onions. I made it in the afternoon and we ate it for dinner- the meat was falling-off-the-bone tender and it was pretty tasty but intrepid taste tester Mr Neil reported from the lunchroom on Monday that it was “definitely much better” the following day (and I made sure to not send too many carrots, since cooked carrots are the one thing he is picky about). As I had suspected, And why I had wanted to make it on a Saturday and serve it on a Sunday. Best laid plans and all that…
In any case, it was a reminder to me to not forget about beef shanks when I am at the butcher. As we move into the winter, slow-braised dishes are ones I love to make – they don’t generally require a lot of hands-on time and are easy to make in larger batches – perfect for weekend meal prep for the week ahead!
Get the recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Osso Buco à l’Arman on page 270 of Around my French Table.
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