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May 21, 2013 07:43 AM

Osso Buco in pressure cooker

I have 3 lb of veal shanks and I want to make Osso Buco in my stovetop pressure cooker (to get it done in a reasonable time for a weeknight).

I looked at about half a dozen recipes on the web, and they list cooking times that vary from 15 to 30 minutes at 15 psi (high pressure), with around 20 minutes being most common.

But comes now the Cook's Illustrated "Pressure Cooker Perfection" book -- and it specifies 60 minutes at high pressure.

My experience has been that recipes from Cook's Illustrated turn out quite well when followed precisely. But the discrepancy between the typical and CI's self-proclaimed "Perfection" has me a little anxious. So I'm thinking of doing 20 minutes and then checking it out -- if it needs more I can either simmer for a while without pressure or perhaps even re-pressurize again. At least I won't have produced cat food.

Does anyone have any advice for me?

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  1. awaiting responses, too! i have this cookbook, but i haven't tried this recipe.

    1. Smart move. Also, you'll want some time off pressure to reduce the braising liquid without the shanks turning to mush.

      1. There are a lot of things that can impact success in a pressure cooker - that I have experienced and read about. Full disclosure: I've only been pressure cooking for about a year - so I'm relatively new to the whole pressure cooking thing.

        That said . . . .

        Not all pressure cookers cook the same, and not all meats are created equally. So while I can't help with your specific cooker, I can help a little when thinking about your meat.

        The thicker your cuts of shank, the longer it will take. Are they whole shanks? 3" thick cuts? 1" cuts? That will affect time - the thicker the longer.

        When I do osso buco in the oven, I usually braise for 3-4 hours. So based on that, I can't imagine 20 minutes would "get it done". I would expect it to be closer to an hour.

        I would likely reduce the amount of liquids in the recipe (if using a recipe designed for the oven instead of for a pressure cooker) since you won't get the same evaporation in the pressure cooker. This will make for a better sauce in the end as well.

        When I use alcohol in my pressure cooker, I have taken to boiling it in the pot before putting on the lid to allow the alcohol to evaporate (or at least much of it). I find using straight wine/alcohol in the pressure cooker gives things an off flavor (to me).

        If it were me - and I was using relative thick shanks - I would cook for 40 minutes - release - check the meat - and then if necessary re-pressurize and go another 20 if it needed it.

        Let me know how it works out. I haven't done shanks in my pressure cooker yet but I have done other "braises" like short ribs/etc and I love using it for that during the week.

        2 Replies
        1. re: thimes

          Thanks tthimes!

          I have 2 CI recipes for Osso Buco. They're quite similar, but the one from "The Best International Recipe" calls for 325F oven for 2 hours while the one in "Pressure Cooker Perfection" calls for 1 hour at high pressure followed by 15 minutes off the heat (i.e. "natural" cooldown without quick release of pressure).

          I have 6 shanks that are about 1.5 inches thick and about 8 oz each. Both CI recipes call for 6 shanks that are 1.5 inches thick and 8 to 10 oz. So mine are on the smaller side, but within range for the recipe as written. I think I also have the same pressure cooker as those used in the CI test kitchen (Fagor Duo).

          I'm leaning towards going longer than I proposed in my earlier post. Maybe 30 minutes... or 40 minutes, or ..........

          1. re: drongo

            Even 40 minutes sounds too long to me. I just looked at three recipes for making ossobucco in a pressure cooker, all from cookbooks that I've found to be reliable (though I haven't tried these particular recipes). Cooking times were 20, 25, and 30 minutes. The 20-minute recipe, from Lorna Sass's "Pressure Perfect," called for natural pressure release; the others didn't specify.

        2. I forgot to come back and say what I did, so here goes...

          I ended up doing 40 minutes at high pressure (rather than 60 recommended by CI or 20-30 minutes by many other recipes). The shanks were tied with butcher string (as recommended by CI) so they stayed intact, but I'm sure would have fallen apart if not tied. Also, I had to use Medium heat to maintain high pressure and at the end there was some burning of the sauce at the bottom of the pot (one disadvantage of the pressure cooker is that one can't stir!).

          So I think I'd have been better off with 30 minutes.

          Still was good, fortunately.

          2 Replies
          1. re: drongo

            Thanks for the update - it is still on my must try for my pressure cooker! Was the 30 minutes because of the sauce burning or the meat texture itself?

            1. re: thimes

              I think I'd do 30 minutes next time because the meat was a little overdone for my test -- would be fine if you like it falling-off-the-bone. I think I could have avoided the burning of the sauce by being more judicious with the level of flame. In any case, the recipe calls for the solids to be strained off and I couldn't taste anything "burned" in the sauce.

          2. Whenever I have a dispute between pressure cooker recipes, I always go to Jane Sass as the tie breaker. Never steered me wrong. She says 18 - 20 minutes per person, using natural pressure release (and she calculates every 4 minutes during release to be equivalent to 1 minute under pressure). Natural pressure release is used to keep the meat fibers from toughening up after a rapid swing in pressure.

            I suspect the difference in numbers given may be due to which pressure release method was used.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ePressureCooker

              CI recipe calls for 60 minutes, followed by 15 minutes natural release (and then a final quick release if any remaining pressure after that).