Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Osso Buco (Braised Veal Shin) with Goat Cheese-Saffron Orzo

Osso Buco (Braised Veal Shin) with Goat Cheese-Saffron Orzo and Green Beans

While shopping with my Mom a couple of days ago at the 3rd Street and Fairfax Farmer's Market, I saw these at the butcher.  
 I hadn't had Osso Buco for awhile, and had never made it at home.

I immediately began to imagine the way the house would smell while it was cooking, and purchased them straight away.

After looking through several of my Italian cookbooks, feeling certain that I had seen a recipe for this in one of them, I was surprised to finally find it in Ferrara's Little Italian Cookbook (which I have mentioned here before).  In the past, I never paid much attention to where I got which recipe; it was enough to know I had it "somewhere" in my collection.  Now that I mention where they come from, I realize I cook from this cookbook more than any of my other Italian ones, at least so far.  Not bad since I bought this book at a yard sale years ago, probably for ten cents or a quarter (it was truly loved, even before it met me).  You should see it now after the additional years of me pawing over it, and I wouldn't resell it for many dimes or quarters :)

I adapted the recipe a bit from theirs. 

In a large heavy saucepan, put 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup of "my" butter (I used a substitute: Earth Balance)

Rinsed and patted the veal shins dry.  Coated them with flour (1/3 cup flour and 2 teaspoons salt and several generous twists of black pepper).  Put them in the melted butter/oil.
 Browned veal on all sides.
When all the meat is browned, turn them onto their side to keep the marrow from running out during the cooking process.  Which I left like this (see above picture), which might not technically be the side :)  But it didn't make any sense to me to turn it the other way, and this way seemed to work just fine.

After the meat was browned on all sides, I added 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 overflowing cup of chopped onion, 3 chopped cloves of garlic, and 3 sliced carrots. 
[The original recipe called for much less onion, less garlic and less carrots, plus salt and celery.  I left the celery out because my husband is not a fan and I added more salt to the original flour mixture instead (knowing I'd lose a good portion of the salt in the unused flour).] 

Covered this mixture and cooked over high heat for 10 minutes.  Be sure to shake the pan from time to time during this time to keep things from sticking/burning on the bottom.

Then I added 1/4 cup white wine, 1 cup chicken broth, and 1 cup tomato sauce, then simmered for approximately two hours.  You want the meat to be tender but not falling off the bone.
 Just before serving, an additional clove of garlic and some fresh parsley was tossed on the osso buco. 

We served the Osso Buco with what I'm calling Goat Cheese-Saffron Orzo and green beans. 
The Osso Buco was very tender and flavorful.  I'm not usually a big meat eater, but I finished all the veal in this dish.  I think I alternated between the taste of the carrots with the veal and the green beans, trying to decide which I liked more, and before I knew it-- they were both gone! 

They were both so good!

For the orzo:
I put the orzo on to boil in half chicken broth and half water.  As an after thought, I sauted some onion in another pan and then added it the orzo while it boiled. 

Then I prepared a sauce.  I put about 1/4 cup of chicken broth in a sauce pan and crumbled all of this cheese into it...
...and simmered it until it thickened a little.  After I mixed it with the cooked and drained orzo, I added some saffron and canned button mushrooms.

After the orzo was cooked, I had drained the chicken broth/onion water into another sauce pan to boil the green beans (this worked out very well - man, those beans were good!).  Since the water was already hot, I knew this wouldn't take long, but it also bought my cheese sauce a little more time to come together.

In this picture, the cheese sauce looks a little runny, but it wasn't. I just hadn't mixed all the orzo in at this point.  The orzo was good, but next time I will skip the saffron and the mushrooms.  Neither had a chance to really compete or develop in this dish, and their flavors were mostly lost.  Perhaps due to the serious quantity of cheese?? :)

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