Osso Buco -- Braised Veal Shanks
8-10 large, 2½-inch-thick veal shanks
All-purpose flour for dredging
7 tablespoons unsalted butter plus additional if necessary, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil plus additional if necessary
1½ cups dry white wine
1½ cups finely chopped onion
¾ cup finely chopped carrots
¾ cup finely chopped celery
1½ cups drained canned plum tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
3-4 cups beef or veal stock/broth
Bouquet garni (see note)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup minced fresh parsley leaves (preferably flat-leafed)
2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Pat the veal shanks dry and tie them securely with kitchen string to keep the meat attached to the bone. Season shanks with salt and pepper and dredge them in the flour, shaking off the excess.
In a heavy skillet heat 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons oil over moderately high heat until the foam subsides, in the fat brown the veal shanks in batches, adding some of the additional butter and oil as necessary and transferring the shanks as they are browned to a platter.
Add the wine to the skillet, boil the mixture, scraping up the brown bits clinging to the bottom and sides of the skillet, until the liquid is reduced to about ½ cup. Transfer reduced wine to a small bowl.
In a flameproof casserole just large enough to hold the veal shanks in one layer, heat 4 tablespoons butter and saute onion, carrots and celery until golden, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic and orange zest; stir occasionally until the vegetables are softened. Add the shanks with any juices that have accumulated on the platter, the reserved wine mixture, and enough broth to almost cover the shanks. Add the cheesecloth bouquet garni, the salt, and pepper to taste, and bring the liquid to a simmer over moderately high heat. Transfer to oven and braise the shanks mixture, covered, in the middle of the oven for 2 hours, or until the veal is tender.
Transfer the shanks with a slotted spoon to an ovenproof serving dish, discard the strings, and keep the shanks warm. Strain the pan juices into a saucepan, pressing hard on the solids, and skim the fat. Boil the juices for 15 minutes, or until they are reduced to about 3 cups, baste the shanks with some of the reduced juices, and bake them, basting them 3 or 4 times with some of the remaining juices, for 10 minutes more, or until they are glazed.
Make the gremolata while the veal shanks bake. For the gremolata, chop the garlic and parsley leaves together on a cutting board and scrape into a small bowl. Stir in grated lemon zest. Garnish veal shanks with gremolata, or pass at table. Serve osso buco over saffron risotto or polenta.
Serves four to eight.
Cook's note: For the bouquet garni, put 6 fresh parsley sprigs, 4 fresh thyme sprigs and 1 bay leaf in a sheet of cheesecloth and tie with butchers twine.