Braised Pork Shanks / Osso Buco.....*Easy Peasy*...with Pictures.
The Short Version Instructions:
* Prepare Mirepoix Mix of Onions, Carrots, Celery and Garlic
* 4 Pork Shanks/OssoBuco
* Seasoned flour
* Dredge in Seasoned flour
* Brown all sides of Osso Buco in a Dutch Oven
* Remove Osso Buco to the side
* Sautee the Mirepoix
* Add Tomato Paste
* Add Wine or Beer
* Return the Osso Buco to the Pot
* Add Hot Stock
* Cover and transfer to 250* Oven for approximately 3-3.5 hours, or until tender.
* Ready to serve.
Bay leaves and any other herb aromatics you prefer
3 cups chicken broth =
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 Pork Shanks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large onion
2 stalks celery
2 medium Carrots
Seasoned Flour, Fresh Cracked Black Pepper & Kosher Salt
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
6 whole cloves of garlic
Optional: 2 small oranges or lemons for finishing with zest.
Tie the bay leaves and any herb aromatics together with string. Pour the chicken broth into a small pot and keep warm over low heat.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the Pork Shanks/Osso Buco with the salt. Dust Pork Shanks in Seasoned Flours and shake off excess. When the oil is hot, add the Osso Buco and brown on all sides, about 8-10 minutes in all. Remove browned Osso Buco to a plate.
Add the Mirepoix Mix of onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the Dutch oven. Cook until the onion begins to soften and all of the vegetables are caramelized, about 5 minutes. Push aside the vegetables to clear a dry spot in the pan, and add the tomato paste. Let it toast for a minute or two, then stir it into the vegetables. Add the wine/beer and the herb aromatics package. Bring to a boil, and cook until the wine is reduced by half, about 3-5 minutes. Return the Osso Buco to the pot in one layer, and pour the chicken stock over the top until it is almost, but not quite, covering the Osso Buco. Adjust heat so the liquid is simmering, cover , transfer to a 250* oven and cook until the Osso Buco is tender, about 3-5 ½ hours.
Once the meat is tender, uncover, and remove the Osso Bucco to a platter. You can strain the vegetables or puree them with a stick blender as part of any sauce. Discard the bay-leaf/herb package. Bring the liquid in the Dutch oven to a boil, and cook down until saucy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pour the sauce through a strainer directly over the Osso Buco on the platter… or into individual serving dish/bowls with your favorite Potato/vegetable puree, Polenta, Beans or Rice.
I'm fortunate enough to have access to a Restaurant Supply House, so these are incredibly inexpensive and have great value. The package of four costs a little over $12. If you omit the wine, it comes in easily at under $20 for a four servings with sides.
Most supermarkets offer the Hindshank for sale @$1.69/lb.. I actually prefer it to the Foreshanks above.....I like to make the HS with crispy skin and the meat is fattier with the collagen and connective tissue. The Hindhank is the preferred cut for Asian recipes..
Years ago I had a friend who thought more than about four ingredients or four lines of instruction was soooooo hard. Never convinced her otherwise. Once I get my mise en place en place :) I feel like it's a coast after that. But, yeah, with most portions of meat that I use, it's two or more browning sessions. The reward is so great.
I see them but have never bought them. Yet. Thanks for all the detail and the pix. And it's so easy. Perfect combo for me :)
Beautiful article and photos, fourunder -- thanks!
I find a basic Milanese ossobuco "sauce" (of mirepoix, white wine, moderate tomato, and often meat stock) amazingly versatile for braising meats -- pork, bone-in lamb-leg slices, etc.
A technical detail (probably occupies whole threads, but this is my two cents' worth from some decades of experience): It's still popular, as in this recipe, to specify oven-cooking for braises and stews, something that older European cookbooks and 19th-century US cookbooks took for granted. In fact, a ritual of village life, immortalized in some specific recipes, was to prepare large covered braising kettles and leave them off at the local bakery on certain mornings, to cook in the hot ovens after the bread was done. Boston baked beans were established that way.
But it isn't necessary, in my experience. I've found that virtually any braise or stew traditionally cooked in an oven does just as well on stove-top, given a solid, well-covered oven-capable vessel like an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven. (Just occasionally, oven cooking has caused a little more caramelization from simmering liquids splashing the sides of the pot and browning; but that's highly dependent on the specific pot shape and fill level and can happen also on stovetop.)
I have nothing fundamentally against oven cooking of braising kettles. It's just that stovetop cooking uses much, much less energy; and besides possible global warming there's the pragmatic problem of unwanted household warming, during hot weather, when oven use is unappealing.
(Unless, that is, you have a cooperative bakery nearby, or are otherwise furnished with a hot oven anyway!)
Thanks for the kind words...with regards to oven or stovetop braising....My experience is I find that it's easier to control the outcome of an oven braise, over one on the stovetop, and it also requires less attention without fear of the braising liquid raising above a gentle simmer or burning of the vegetables in any way. Most oven use is in the cooler months for myself, so it aids in keeping the house a little warmer without raising the thermostat....also, most of my oven cooking is low and slow temperature roasting....so it's mostly set at 225* or less. I'm never in a rush, as I prepare in advance and hold as necessary...so the low and slow oven braise works better for me over the stovetop...which I feel cooks a little faster and hotter.
Maybe it's my misfortune, then, to make stews and braises year-round including in very hot weather. (Stews freeze well, and I generally have several kinds, frozen, on hand.)
Or my fortune, at never having any trouble regulating the simmer level on stovetop. Albeit I've done it often for many years, so it seems natural.
For most of cooking history, during which dishes like ossobuco and boeuf Bourguignonne developed, household stoves used wood or coal; there was very little concept of "regulation." Ovens were a standard method for most braising, not always a choice.
I still see arguments for the tradition but have never, despite testing the question in my own kitchens since I cook such dishes a LOT, personally encountered any evidence that it's a better method (excepting when you want the oven heat in cold weather, another ancient use of stoves). So I file it in the same mental category as other beloved and rationalized cooking rituals. Like "never wash mushrooms" (one 1965 mushroom cookbook repeats that on the margin of every page), or an admonition I once got as a child, that when whipping cream with a whisk, always rotate in the same direction or else the cream will (somehow) "unwhip."
I made something similar last week (got an amazing deal on osso buco) & did it much as you described. Served with my first-ever risotto, which makes a great accompaniment.
That said, I really wondered if I could've used my slow cooker for the oven bit. I stuck wth the oven as I wasn't confident enough to veer off with my first attempt. Thoughts on the benefits/problems that might cause? My concern was that I might end up with a too-high temp even on a low setting.
You certainly could make this in a slow cooker...especially if you have to work all day and want to come home to a meal.....however, I'm more apt to use the Slow Cooker for something more like a Swiss Steak, Pot Roast, Stew, Red Sauce or Soup....where presentation would not be a concern. For example, something like corned beef, where if it fell apart, it would still taste pretty good. For Pork or Lamb Shanks, I would not want the meat to fall off the bone. Traditionally, I make Sunday Gravy with Sausage, Meatballs, Spare Ribs....possibly Short Ribs, Ox Tails or Braciole. All the meats require different cooking times. Experimenting with recent batches of sauce, the Sausage and Meatballs were fair in texture...all leaning towards over-cooked....even the sauce burned a little. In the end, it's convenient, but not preferred.
Excellent, thanks! I was on the right track but hadn't considered that my meat would've totally fallen apart. Overcooked: good to consider! I also got my dad to try marrow for possibly his very first time. He took a tentative taste, the proceeded to finish it off :)
I did my osso buco on a public holiday, so I conveniently had the time to chill out and meander about while it cooked. I like the slow cooker but love the oven :) With summer rapidly approaching, though, I just try to consolidate my oven usage ( no a/c....and it was 90+ degrees this week)