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Jun 23, 2009 12:21 PM

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:

                                Ore these references: (scroll down to Jambon au Foin



                       (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.