Tuesday, April 21, 2009

For the Love of Veal Shank

How do you say comfort food in Italian? I'm not sure exactly, but this is how I would say it: Osso Bucco. Seriously? Wow. This was Jon's big idea; and big idea it was. We started looking around for a good recipe, most of which involved cooking twine, cheesecloth, weird crap I've never even seen in real life.

The recipe we used was titled "Easy Osso Bucco." If this is easy, I am terrified to know what the hard kind looks like. I think the easy part just meant that you get to use a sieve instead of cheesecloth. But 4 pans, 2 bottles of wine, $85 later, I felt like I'd accomplished something kinda big, kinda cool. This dish is super rich and delicious. And me and Jon made it together. Sweet veal shank love.

Osso Bucco is traditionally paired with risotto, which is another slightly scary proposition, and, I've never even ordered risotto in a restaurant. I mean, who gets excited by rice? A giant hunk of meat has always seemed a little more appealing. But, this simple risotto was pretty dreamy and decadent, I must say. But from here on out, a giant hunk of meat plus risotto: I'm so game.

This is kind of a special occasion kind of meal, or a let's just pretend it's a special occasion kind of meal. Regardless, it's divine. Leftovers were equally amazing. The recipe looks a little crazy, but don't fret. The deliciousness is mostly just the cut of meat, cooked until it's tender, buttery, and fall-off-the-bone magic.
Easy Osso Bucco (courtesy of the lovely Giada, from Everyday Italian)

6 1-to-1 1/2-inch-thick veal shank (we bought 4 instead)
2 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste

1/3 c all-purpose flour, for dredging
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 small carrot, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 c dry white wine (we used Nessa

About 4 c reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 large sprig of fresh rosemary (or a little more)
1 large sprig of fresh thyme (and more)
1 bay leaf (we used two)

2 whole cloves (or 3!)
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (more! Clearly, I'm a little heavy handed with the herbs.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pat the veal dry with paper towels to ensure even browning. Secure the meat to the bone with kitchen twine. Season the veal with 1 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper. Dredge the veal in the flour to coat the cut sides lightly.

In a heavy roasting pan large enough to fit the veal in a single layer, heat the oil over a medium flame until hot. Add the veal and cook until brown on both sides, about 8 mins per side. Transfer the veal to a plate and reserve.

In the same pan, add the onion, carrot, and celery. Season with 1 tsp of the salt to help draw out the moisture from the veg. Sauté until the onion is tender, about 6 mins. Stir in the tomato paste and sauté for 1 min. Stir in the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 mins. Return the veal to the pan. Add enough chicken broth to come 2/3 of the way up the sides of the veal. Add the herb sprigs, bay leaf, and cloves to the broth mixture. Bring the liquid to a boil over med-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan with foil and transfer to the oven. Braise until the veal is fork-tender, turning the veal every 30 mins, about 1 1/2 hours total. Carefully remove the cooked veal from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut off the twine and discard. Tent the veal with foil to keep warm.

Place a large sieve over a large bowl. Carefully pour the cooking liquid and veg into the sieve, pressing on the solids to release as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids and return the sauce to the pan. Gently place the veal back into the strained sauce. Bring just to a simmer. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley.

4 c chicken broth
3 tbsp butter
3/4 c finely chopped onion
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
1/2 c dry white wine
1/2 c freshly grated Parm
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Cover the broth and keep hot over low heat. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tbsp of the butter over med heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 c of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 c at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 mins total. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parm, the remaining tbsp of butter, and the salt and pepper. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Vaynerchuk on Bacon

Jon loves Gary Vaynerchuk – well, I think he's actually, like, in love with him. He was quite honestly very annoying to me at first, but I've grown to love him too, especially when he does things like this.