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Osso Bucco - sub veal cutlet for shank

Having large group for dinner; want to make osso bucco - is it okay to sub cutlets for shanks to save $$

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  1. The bones and marrow are necessary for richness - you could possibly compensate with halved raw bones from chicken legs and thighs, Better to change your menu.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      It's not just the bones and marrow, osso buco also depends on the slow-cooked cartilage, which gives it that great mouth feel. Don't do it. Or substitute lamb shanks as others have suggested.

    2. How about beef rather than veal?

      1. consider beef short ribs or lamb shanks instead. greygarious is right, the swap out wouldn't be wise.

        1. no.

          lamb shanks are about 1/3 the price, though.

          1. The poultry butchers in Catania, Sicily cut turkey legs & thighs across the bone and called the result "osso bucco di tacchino." It wasn't veal, and there's no marrow to play with but it tasted good treated as one would veal shank. It was best finished off with a generous handful of gremolata. I can see using the same cut for Chile Verde, or braised with salt-pickled lemons and harissa and whatever veg. over couscous, in a paella ...

            1. The bone marrow is the point of the dish. If you want to use cutlets, make a dish designed for cutlets. Otherwise, it's kinda like calling a roll with lettuce, tomato, cheese, bacon and condiments a hamburger.

              1. I'm left with the impression that you want to avoid serving dinner guests a plate filled with large boney pieces from which they have to extract whatever meat they can without making a mess of their attire (or worse). If that's your motivation consider me a member of your camp.
                "Osso" means bone. Without the bones the flavor will be off. If you want to sub cutlets for shanks, I'd suggest considering using both and removing the shanks (set 'em aside for snack food when you're not serving guests) and serve the cutlets with the dish.

                1 Reply
                1. re: todao

                  Long cooking adds to the flavor. Cutlets won't stand up to this. How much if any would you save anyway? Veal cutlets aren't cheap. I make a dish similar to an osso bucco where I use pork spare ribs. You also could consider a veal stew.

                2. beggsy,

                  You do not mention the actual number of guests in your group, or whether there are any dietary restrictions......but consider using Pork Shanks. I get them in Chinese, Polish or German butcher shops...very inexpensive, always less than $2 per pound......At the Polish provision store I frequent, I can get them already perfectly cooked for $6 each.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fourunder

                    I'm with the DO NOT USE CUTLETS crowd here. I'd go with beef short ribs instead. I actually like lamb shanks better that veal shanks, but lamb is less popular with the general public. As my grandpa used to say "I can still taste da vool."

                  2. Thanks everyone! A friend of mine wanted me to ask this question. I think they are have 12 people and she has decided to stick with tradition and serve the real thing. Hooray!