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A ? about veal osso buco

My friend took me to a great french restaurant for my birthday diner. I order the caramelized duck breast and she got the Veal Osso Buco. My plate had this dainty amount of duck and hers was served in a bowl that looked like it was enough for 2 people, and it was good! I had never had that before, but she had a lot leftover so she let me bring it home. Now here is the question:

It was in a deep brown sauce, served over parm risotto with crimini mushroom. It says on the menu that it is slow braised in balsamic and Madeira. All the recipes I have looked at seem to have a bunch of vegetable, or tomatoes in them, and this did not look like it had any at all. It was like a rich beef gravy. So is it just the recipe or did the vegetables cook to a consistency where you just couldn't see them? The actual name of this dish was Jarrett de Veau.

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  1. I would usually strain out any vegetables before serving.

    A great French restaurant would do the same.

    1. Hard to say without asking the chef, but they may have made it with vegetables and then strained the sauce before serving it. It may not have been actual osso buco - jarret de veau simply means veal shank. Osso buco (no need to say veal osso buco, by definition osso buco is made with veal shank) is a specific Italian preparation, but there are plenty of different recipes for this lovely cut of meat, most of which involve braising. As you say, the menu didn't call it osso buco - why do you? Did the server call it that?

      If you're trying to replicate it you might try looking for french veal shank recipes.

      14 Replies
      1. re: BobB

        Oh Bob, I mislead you. In the description of the dish it did say "Slow Braised Veal Osso Buco in balsamic, Madeira, parmesan risotto, crimini mushrooms."

        I never thought about straining out the vegetables, although I do that when I make a good pot roast, and get an incredible rich beefy gravy, so it makes sense. Thanks for the replies.

        Now, I would have to find a recipe that doesn't use veal - my husband won't touch that.

        1. re: danhole

          I've had versions done with lamb shanks instead of veal - not classic osso buco but still very tasty.

          1. re: danhole

            I recently did a nice braise with chunks of a goat shank and kept/served all the vegetables. No madeira, but I suppose it would work.

            1. re: Veggo

              Bob & Veggo,

              Do you think a man that won't eat veal would even begin to try lamb or goat? Not likely. I tried to trick him by saying that the osso buco was just meat, but he gagged. When I fessed up and said it was veal he asked me if I knew what that was. DUH! Sad, really, but I think I need a beef shank for this if I'm going to try it at home. That or I'll just have to order it in a restaurant.

              1. re: danhole

                I thought the objection to veal might be the "baby" thing , which is often the case. Sounds like fins and feathers are your go-to with hubby.

                1. re: Veggo

                  That was my thought too, he had moral qualms about veal. Oh well. Maybe you could adapt this to beef short ribs? No non-vegetarian guy can resist ribs!

                  1. re: Veggo

                    He does have moral qualms about veal. Heaven forbid he ever find out what foie gras is! We had that and some escargot for appetizers and he nearly fell out of his chair at the thought I ate snails! (He obviously wasn't with us.) He thinks lamb is gamey, but he likes venison. He would never consider eating goat. I would like to try either the beef or pork.

                    1. re: danhole

                      dh - I have seen a recipe using turkey legs for the lamb - I'll see if I can dig it up - it looked really good -

                        1. re: bayoucook

                          Thanks. I added it to my recipe box on Foodnetwork.

                  2. re: danhole

                    The cheapest and tastiest is pork shank.

                    1. re: danhole

                      I've used beef shanks quite successfully in veal osso buco recipes. Should work well for you.

                  3. re: danhole

                    hey danhole! I make osso buco all the time - strain the sauce and add a demi-glaze to finish it. Had the lamb version too, and it was delicious. I'd love that particular recipe you're talking about tho' - I'll help you find it!

                    1. re: danhole

                      We just had a dinner guest who also made the "I won't touch that." pronouncement. I gently explained that the veal i serve is immature pastured beef, not the specialty product that is raised in a cramped pen and fed a special mash to keep its meat "white". After all, not every calf born gets to be raised to maturity and has to go somewhere.

                      It puzzles me how the same people will eat rack of (a baby) lamb and 8 week old chicken and not beef of the same age. However, beliefs usually trump logic and lamb and chicken win over veal.

                  4. it seems difficult to imagine that the braised shanks didn't have mirepoix vegetables--or the house variant of that trio--lurking at the base of the sauce, along with some one or two forms of tomato.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: silverhawk

                      Silverhawk - absolutely not one vegetable to be seen. that's why I was asking because when I looked for recipes it seemed like I should have seen some. I think jaykaren is right that a fancy french restaurant would strain them out. Has to be the answer.

                      1. re: danhole

                        sure, agreed. strained out or buzzed into the sauce.

                        fwiw, i prefer lamb shanks to veal--cheaper, too.

                    2. If the menu said "Jarret de Veau," and it was a French restaurant with an English translation that explained it as an osso bucco, I would chalk that up to a translation error. The only thing traditional French Jarret de Veau and traditional Italian Osso Bucco have in common is that they both call for veal shanks, but most jarret de veau recipes call for whole shanks while osso bucco calls for them sliced.

                      If you Google "Jarret de Veau," it will bring up a lot of recipes in French. Many of them have a "Tanslate this page" key next to them. The translations are often comic (I still haven't figured out what "hay" is), but they can give you a good idea about cooking methods and most ingredients.

                      There are also a few truly classic osso bucco recipes on line in English that are well worth your time if that's the dish you're looking for. But what you had doesn't sound even close to traditional osso bucco. But you might really like it! Good luck.

                      16 Replies
                      1. re: Caroline1

                        What (in context) is the French line containing "hay"?

                        1. re: BobB

                          The recipes calls for "foin." You'll find it here:
                          It;s the final ingredient under "Jarret."

                          I have NO clue! If you do, tell me! Tell me! '-)

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            It is in fact hay. I checked some French cooking sources (en Français) and they sometimes do use hay as a seasoning herb. There's even a standard cooking phrase, "dans le foin," that means "cooked in hay." In the recipe you link to, it's added for the last hour of cooking.

                            1. re: BobB

                              I checked the sources too and all they say is "hay." And that's my point. Do they mean alfalfa? Do they mean "straw" as in hayrides? I've been cooking "French" for fifty-plus years now, and I don't recall ever seeing a recipe that called for "hay" before. Maybe it's nouvelle cuisine? That's about the time I put on the brakes and stayed with haute. '-)

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                I suspect that in France they have a standard sort of hay that's sold for cooking. I don't recall seeing it when I've been in French markets - but then, I wasn't looking for it and it might have been right under my nose.

                                Check out this thread from last year: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/571917

                                Ore these references: http://books.google.com/books?id=5PbU... (scroll down to Jambon au Foin



                                http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/c... (scroll down or search to #301, Jambon Frois. This last appears to be from a 19th C cookbook, so it's not something new.

                                Overall it appears to be a traditional farmhouse cooking method, not haute cuisine. So maybe it's only done in the country where you could just go outside and pick some.

                                1. re: BobB

                                  "Overall it appears to be a traditional farmhouse cooking method, not haute cuisine. So maybe it's only done in the country where you could just go outside and pick some."........................................BobB

                                  Interesting! I haven't yet checked out your links, so if I end up saying something they have already said, I apologize. However, your last sentence popped an image into my mind of the Siege of Paris, when people ate their dogs, for crying out loud! And that brought to mind Andre Simon's mid-twentieth century "A Concise Encyclopaedia of Gastronomy," which is where I learned about exactly what breeds of dogs people ate. It has information about tons of esoteric stuff. But NO "hay"!

                                  So then I thought, wow, Encyclopedia Gastronomique will surely shed some light. Wrong! The closest it has is a hay burning stove, nothing about a dietary hay.

                                  Thanks for all of your help! Looks like one of those French "alimentaire mystères" they aren't about to share with the rest of the world.... Oh well, any hay I pick around here would probably be loaded with pesticides anyway, right? '-)

                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                    I was watching Anthony Boudain's "No Reservations" show on Chicago last night, and one of his chef buddies there served him ham cooked in hay! He raved about how good the hay made it taste.

                                    1. re: BobB

                                      My problem remains with what they are calling "hay." By definition, "hay" is any kind of dried grass or herbage that has been dried for fodder. So technically, dried herbs are "hay." So was the ham Bourdain ate cooked in alfalfa or clover or dried oregano? The first two are commonly used as hay, the last not so much, but technically it fits the definition. Well, better "hay" than "silage," I suppose. On the other hand, "ham cooked in kimchi" might not be too bad... My problem with such descriptives used for food is with their ambiguity!

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        Lexicologically that may be correct, but realistically if the ham were cooked in a commonly used herb like oregano I can't see them touting it as "ham cooked in hay." As for alfalfa vs clover, only the chef knows for sure.

                                  2. re: BobB

                                    I have an old TimesLife book on pork with a 2 page entry for ham cooked with hay. This is based on a 17th c recipe which recommends 'poaching ham in water and hay, on the ground that the hay tenderizes the meat'. This author questions that, but does think it adds sweetness and fragrance. If you can't get 'farm fresh hay' try alfalfa hay from the pet shop, it says.

                          2. re: Caroline1

                            It was a full shank, no slices. We even ate the marrow out of the bone. I am not sure if they added the sauce/gravy at the last or not, because the meat had the flavors permeated into it. So tender and almost like a stew without the vegetables. The meat fell off the bone, not cutting required. I wanted to take the bone home, but when they packaged it they left it out. That was a bummer! Now I will have to see what real osso buco looks like so I can compare.

                            1. re: danhole

                              I've never had uncured pork shanks, though I do occasionally use ham shanks in split pea soup, but veal, lamb and beef shanks all produce great gelatinous broth or sauce as they are long and slow roasted or braised. I've never met a well cooked shank I didn't love, regardless of the recipe.

                              1. re: danhole

                                Doesn't 'osso buco' mean 'hollow bone'? If so, the name focuses on the cross cut pieces of shank, with marrow in the middle of the bone.

                                I've been buying beef shank, sometimes in the cross cut slices, sometimes as a boneless 'banana shank' or 'half shank'. This is the whole calf (lower leg, that is) muscle, shaped a bit like a fat banana (or banana blossom). I started using this when I learned about 'pepposo', the peppery Italian beef shank dish. The simpler recipes (associated with tile makers) just use red wine, garlic, and lots of black pepper - cooking the shank overnight in cooling tile making ovens. Both other recipes add the kinds of vegetables one associates with osso buco and French braised meat dishes.

                                Even without the bone, shank has a lot of connective tissue, which produces a lovely texture when cooked long enough - assuming you like that gelatinous texture :)

                                The last time I cooked shank I used lots of leaks and pureed tomato, producing a stew that paired well with pasta. I've also cooked it Chinese style (with chu hou paste).

                              2. re: Caroline1

                                The Larousse G (1960s ed) has entries for Jarret de veau a l 'Italienne and JV a la Provencale.

                                The English title for the Italian one is 'Knuckle of veal a l'Italiene or Osso-bucco'.

                                It is hard to pinpoint a difference between the recipes. Both use onion, tomato, white wine, garlic, bouquet garni. The main difference is the Italian adds a short paragraph on presentation - pieces in a dish with concentrated cooking liquor on top.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  I have been looking at recipes for Jarret de Veau, and when I can find one that is not in french, I am amazed at the variations. Chefchicklet post a recipe on another osso buco thread that doesn't have the tomatoes, but added at the end that sometimes she(?) adds tomato. I don't know a lot about cooking french food, I just like to eat it! Looks like I need to go to the bookstore and look at some french cookbooks.

                                  1. re: danhole

                                    Paula Wolferts's SW France book has several recipes for 'daube of beef' - slow braised beef. One uses oxtail. Another 'mixed cuts of beef', including chuck, short ribs and 'beef shin with marrow'. That I think is the same as beef shank. They also include calf foot, veal knuckle or pigs foot.

                              3. It sounds like the veal shank was cooked first and then plated with Madeira sauce ladled over it. They probably removed the shank from the cooking liquids and solids and did not use those in the plated presentation. Madeira sauce is sieved more than once and would appear to be just a glossy, brown sauce or gravy without any solids.

                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                    That looks very good but he will not eat lamb! I am going to dig around and see if I can find the recipe. Not sure, but it may be on their website (crossing fingers). All I can say is I wish I could let all of you taste it. It was so delicious, especially on top of the parm risotto! When I tasted her meal I wanted to toss my duck out the window, although that was very good too. Thanks for the help everyone!


                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                      Oh does that look good!

                                      Danhole - try pork shanks or short beef ribs - I bet Mr D will like that. ;-)

                                    2. I do not put tomatoes in my Osso Buco recipe, and I presume this restaurant did not, either.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                        It didn't taste of tomatoes, nor could you see any hint of tomatoes. That really is what prompted me to ask the hounds about it, because most of the recipes I saw had tomatoes.

                                        1. After much searching, and a lot of help from all of you, I think I found a comparable recipe for the Jarret de veau. Look at it and let me know what you think. The breadcrumbs kind of threw me, but that gravy was good and thick, so . . .


                                          15 Replies
                                          1. re: danhole

                                            In effect, the sauce is finished and thickened with bread and parsley. Bread thickening is common in Spanish cooking (including cold sauces and soups). Parsley and garlic are also used for final seasoning. Of course there's a lot in common between SW France and NE Spain, just across the mountains.

                                            1. re: danhole

                                              That is the weirdest bastardization of mirapoix I have ever seen! In my method of making actual osso buco, for instance, the sliced veal shanks rest on FRESH mirapoix while they slow roast and become moist and succulent and an integral part of the sauce. Which doesn't mean his method may not work great for this recipes, but I don't buy into a frozen block of used-to-be mirapoix for all recipes! Most curious! Does anyone here actually do this, and do you think it works well for you?

                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                Why would freezing harm the mirapoix? We aren't trying to preserve the crispness of the celery!

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  As I said, I haven't tried it. And I have no inclination to try it. It just sounds like the difference between buying a bag of already popped pop corn and buying kernels you pop yourself. Or like trying to make a Caprese salad with canned whole tomatoes. Just doesn't sound like "my cup of tea."

                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                    How long do you sweat your mirepoix? This author makes are large batch, cooking it 40 minutes, and freezing the excess. I chop up a small batch, and rarely sweat it longer than 10. Quite likely his is better, both before and after freezing, than mine.

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      I think this discussion of the mirepoix is a bit off the subject. I did not ask about one particular part of the recipe, I asked about it as a whole. Another point is who cares if it is frozen or not - it will be discarded. I am all for convenience and making a large batch, freezing and then using only what I need is a good idea, especially if you use it a lot.

                                                      Interesting about the bread thickening, Paulj. It makes sense, I had just never thought of it. Now I need to get that immersion blender!

                                                        1. re: Caroline1


                                                          As a whole recipe, do you think this sounds like what I am looking for? I know nothing about french cooking, so I am asking for some guidance. Just generally speaking.


                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                            As my former posts probably indicate, I don't think much of his methodology. As for whether it may be a reflection of what you had before, not having tasted that dish, I couldn't begin to guess. Some general rules of thumb: Shanks of any animal are rich in collagen, and all of them make a gelatinous broth when braised simply. Strain it well, clarify it, and you will have a fantastic aspic! Both veal and lamb shanks are multi-national favorites, with "classic" recipes in most of the world's great cuisines. I think you said somewhere previously that the menu translation from the French called the dish "osso buco." If the shanks were not cut into slices before braising, it was NOT osso bucco. Additionally, I have never seen an osso bucco recipe that calls for balsamic vinegar. Another problem is that "jarret de veau" simply means a knuckle or shin of veal, and says nothing about how it is cooked. There is no single specific recipes associated with “jarret de veau” any more than a single recipe associated with “chicken.” When I Googled “jarret de veau,” I came up with a gazillion different French “recettes. Including recipes for osso buco.

                                                            You ask if vegetables can be cooked into the sauce. Absolutely. When they become soft enough, and are “cooked down” long enough, they will turn into a slightly chunky sauce, or the sauce can be sieved, passed through a food mill or a chinoise, and you will have a smooth (usually) delicious sauce that offers no clear clues about every ingredient. And for the record, trying to attain a smooth texture in the final sauce will not have the same excellent end result if you try to do it in a food processor or a blender simply because they will whip too much air into the sauce, giving it a cloudy appearance, or modifying the color, as it does with tomatoes (turns the sauce pink instead of red).

                                                            With the end-sauces of knuckle or shank dishes, it’s extremely difficult to taste one and say, “No, this has no tomatoes in it.” For example, a tablespoon of rich, thick tomato paste (not sauce) is an ingredient that brings richness and depth of flavor to many classic dishes. Two that are especially notable are coq au vin and boeuf Bourguignon. When you taste those dishes, unless you’re an experienced cook, tomatoes are the last thing you will think of. Sooo,…. It’s really very difficult to say that the dish you had has no tomatoes in it.

                                                            So about the best you can hope for is either to go back to the restaurant and BEG the chef for his recipe (chefs sometimes refuse to share, but I’ve known some very generous chefs who do), or keep trying all of the recipes on line or from cook books until you find one that rings a bell for you. The GREAT thing you have working for you is that smell and taste are the most accurate and enduring memories of the human mind. In other words, when you taste it again, you will KNOW IT and recognize it and be flooded with joy!

                                                            As for the recipe with the frozen mirepoix, had the man suggested dicing carrots, celery and onions, then freezing them in a bag with equal portions of each, and uncooked for future use, I would have thought, “Hey, good idea!” But since he recommends cooking the mirepoix BEFORE freezing, to me that simply means that either he has little background in classic cooking techniques., or simply does not understand them. Cooking and flavoring are about layering. A mirepoix is (almost?) always a first, or at least a very early ingredient in a recipe. To use a “mirepoix” that is already “cooked out” will have questionable results, in my opinion. So for me, if I don’t trust his mirepoix, I have to question his veal recipe. BUT!!! If someone does not have my cooking background, and is not cursed with my taste buds, hey, no reason such a person may not think it’s the greatest recipe since sliced bread! Nothing wrong with that. How can you loose something you’ve never had?

                                                            Good luck to you! Times when something tastes as good as this experience you had with veal happen, they are rare moments in life. Cherish them!


                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                              Any step involving a home freezer would not be part of codified classical French cooking.

                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                Doing a search on 'mirepoix freezing', I discovered that I proposed doing this last year in a Chow thread

                                                                There are other references, articles and blogs, to doing this, though I did not find any authoritative ones. Apparently 'mire poix' is someone's name, not a descriptive term.

                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                  According to Petit Lexique Culinaire, this minced vegetable flavoring mixture was created in the 18th century by the Duke of Lévis-Mirepoix's cook. The Duke was Marshal of France and Ambassador of Louis XV.

                                                                2. re: Caroline1

                                                                  The author of this particular recipe is Michael Roberts, and the cookbook it was taken out of is Parisian Home Cooking. From checking the internet he had (since passed away) wonderful credentials and his book is highly recommended. He studied in Paris. Now I, like I said, am not familiar with french cooking - I just love french food! But it sounds like this is a cookbook that I would like to own. Caroline, if you want to continue talking about french chefs, we could take this offline. You can find my email on profile pg. Otherwise I appreciate what you say and although I seriously doubt the chef will share his recipe, maybe he could at least tell me if there were tomatoes in it or not. There may have been a smattering in there, as in a paste, but it was mainly a beefy stew type flavor. And I will always remember the taste - it was just that good. Thanks.

                                                                  1. re: danhole

                                                                    Some chefs are amazingly gracious, so it never hurts to ask. I had the most incredible roast venison with cranberries and morels cooked in apple wine in a small ancient family run inn a few miles outside of Rhein Main. I could not believe how good it was. I asked the waiter to ask the chef if he would speak to me. A very cordial man, and to my great great astonishment, he DID share his old family recipe with me. So do ask. As the trite old saying goes, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." Good luck.

                                                  2. re: danhole

                                                    From a French food blog, Chocolate & Zucchini

                                                    Jarret de Veau Braisé à la Cuiller


                                                  3. End of day, there are as many recipes for this type of dish as there are families in France or Italy... There is no right or wrong way, just the right way for your family.