Osso Bucco (meaning bone with a hole) is a dish from Northern Italy traditionally made from a particular cut of veal shank.
It’s a tough cut of meat tenderised through slow cooking which leaches the minerals and nutrients from the bone to create a casserole that’s wonderful for the immune system. Bone broth is recommended for those with poor gut health and similarly this dish renders the same healing properties making it ideal for people who are coeliac, have IBS or leaky gut syndrome. Bone marrow contains collagen which is beneficial for the skin and wound healing. If the sound of bone marrow is off-putting, rest assured that in this dish it blends beautifully with the meat, wine and vegetables to create a delicious casserole that is truly a remarkable all-rounder.
I’ve tried many variations of tomato based Osso Bucco recipes and have found that there’s no need to coat the meat in flour, it tastes just as good if you skip this process (thumbs up for coeliacs). I’ve also tried omitting wine and replacing it with stock, however I really do find that the inclusion of just one cup of wine makes makes a world of difference to the flavour.
Finally, I prefer to use beef osso bucco over veal but either works in this dish.
- Approx 6 medium size osso bucco (around 1.5kg/2.5 lbs) – choose beef or veal
- 3 celery sticks
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- 5 cloves garlic/3 heaped teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup good quality stock or bone broth (beef is ideal but chicken also works well)
- 1 cup white wine (I prefer white but red also works well)
- 400g tin /12 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (choose cold pressed extra virgin)
- 3 bay leaves
Dice the onions, finely chop the garlic and cut the carrots and celery into small pieces.
Heat a frying pan to a medium-high heat then add a tablespoon of oil and allow to heat. Cook half the meat (cooking in batches to avoid overcrowding) for a couple of minutes on each side until it has turned golden brown. Place the meat in the slow cooker/crock pot or a large casserole dish then repeat with the remaining meat.
If you’re using an oven rather than a slow cooker, heat it to 130 degrees Celsius or 270 degrees Fahrenheit at this point.
Next, heat the frying pan again but this time to a medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the onion and garlic for around a minute, then add the carrots and celery and continue to cook until the onion starts to turn translucent. Add the tomato paste and mix through the vegetables, then add the stock/bone broth, wine, crushed tomatoes and bay leaves and cook for another minute.
Add the vegetable mixture to the meat ensuring all the meat is covered by some liquid. If cooking in a slow cooker/crock pot, you can either cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hour (I prefer low but either works).
If cooking in the oven, it’s especially important to make sure the meat is completely covered by liquid. Place the lid on the casserole dish and cook for 3.5 hours. Remove from the oven and place a fork into the meat, it should fall away from the bone. If not, place in the oven for an another hour until the meat is tender.
Whichever method you choose, once the cooking time is complete allow the dish to cool for at least 15 minutes then remove the bones and any excess fat.
For a paleo option, serve with cauliflower rice. Traditionalists can enjoy with polenta, mashed potato or steamed rice.
Serves ~ 6.
This dish freezes well so if you’re not feeding a group, freeze what you don’t use.