Osso Buco is a Milanese classic prepared with either veal or lamb shanks. The name, osso buco, is Italian for “bone with a hole,” because the meat cut has a bone with a marrow hole in the cross cut. Because lamb is smaller than veal, look for meaty shanks from higher up on the leg, or a slimmer cut, lower down, with meat on the bone. This is a slow-and-low kind of dish. Once you get the pot in the oven, most of the work is done. Let the heat work for you to produce a tender, braised lamb infused with flavor from quality time spent with tomatoes, herbs, and vegetables.
Lamb Shanks Osso Buco Recipe
4 large meaty lamb shanks
3 T olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1 onion, diced
5 large carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 strips lemon peel
2 tsp rosemary, minced
2 tsp thyme, leaves stripped from stems
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground fennel
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 bay leaves
2 cups dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1 – 28 ounce can chunky tomato purée
2 – 14.5 ounce cans stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
( I hear you!) Why do I need a Gremolata?
You don’t need a gremolata, but you’ll surely want one. As a condiment typically found sprinkled on Osso Buco, the combination of lemon zest, minced parsley, and often garlic can add a boost of flavor to the final product. Think of it as a brightener, or the icing on the cake. Here, because there is garlic in the sauce, to keep it light this gremolata skips garlic.
3 T fresh Italian parsley, minced
1 T grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat oil in large ovenproof pot, or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add lamb and sauté on all sides until medium brown, turning with tongs. Transfer to clean plate.
Reduce heat to medium and add pancetta, stirring for 1 minute. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, stirring to combine. Cover and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Add wine and boil, scraping up browned bits.
Mix in lemon peel, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, coriander, fennel, and bay leaves.
Add tomatoes and broth, stirring well to combine. Return lamb and any juices collected on plate to pot. Bring to boil, cover, and transfer pot to oven. Braise lamb until tender, turning occasionally, for 3 hours. Check to make sure there is enough liquid covering lamb, and add broth if needed. Meat will be ready to serve when it’s falling off the bone and very tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mix parsley, lemon, salt, and pepper in small bowl to prepare gremolata.
Serve in warmed bowls with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with gremolata.
Wine guru Stephanie Davis thinks that if you’re going to invest time on culinary artistry to create this oh-so-worth-it dish, go ahead and splurge on the wine. She recommends opening an aged wine that, like a wise old man, has mellowed over time and now wants to share its wisdom with you. She recently opened this 2003 Brunelli di Montalcino and shared it with a friend. They savored, swirled, and gave their full attention to the stories inside the bottle, making it more than worth the $55 price tag. The End.
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.