Every now and again, we get some surprises with beef. This Osso Bucco recipe is an example of one of those surprises.
I hate to admit it, but we had never heard of “Osso Bucco” until we had some beef processed and one of the cuts we got back was labeled “Osso Bucco.” I asked the butcher what it was, and he said it’s a traditional Italian dish and the cut of beef is from the shank. He promised we would love it, and he was right.
What’s Osso Bucco?
Osso Bucco is a traditional Italian dish (Milanese if you want to be really precise). The phrase “Osso Bucco” is Italian for “bone with a hole”, and that’s exactly what it looks like. A piece of meat with a bone in the middle. When I first saw it, it reminded me of a meat donut. LOL – I think that confirms I’m definitely not from Italy!
In Italy, this dish is prepared with veal, but it can also be made with other cuts. Our Osso Bucco beef cut isn’t veal — we don’t butcher cows until their much older — but the cut of meat is still similar since it’s cross-cut of beef from the shank.
The shank on a steer is the upper leg, which is a muscle that is used often. Like we’ve talked about before, if a muscle it used often, it means the cut of meat can be tough and dry. However, if you cook this meat in the Italian way by braising, you’ll discover it will melt in your mouth.
Just in case you’re not familiar with braising, here’s a quick overview. Braising is a cooking technique where you cook meat with two types of heat – dry and moist. With braising, you season the meat on all sides and then sear it. Then, you will finish the meat in a covered pot (like a crock pot) at a lower temperature. Bone-in meat, like Osso Bucco or bone-in beef short fibs, are great for braising because they’re often tougher cuts of meat that get an additional punch of flavor (from the bone) when braised for a few hours.
Why I like this Osso Bucco Recipe
I’ve researched lots of Osso Bucco recipes and have learned that many of them can take all-day to make because they’re made in the oven and you have to check it regularly. That’s why I got really excited when I discovered this Osso Bucco recipe from finecooking.com. It uses a crock pot to help braise the meat.
It tastes amazing, and will make you feel like you’re in Italy – without the long plane ride to get there.
Osso Bucco Recipe (Crock Pot)
- Osso Bucco approx 2-3 lbs
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup white grape juice note, the real recipe used 1 cup dry white wine and I substituted white grape juice
- 1 14.5 oz can dieced tomatoes
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 small red onion chopped
- 1 medium carrot peeled and cut into thick rounds
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Season the meat with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour. Shake off any excess
- Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat until melted.
- Add meat and brown in the hot butter for about 5 minutes on each side, until browned on both sides.
- Place beef to crock pot
- Add the grape juice to the skillet and scrape any browned bits from the bottom. Add the tomatoes, celery, onion, carrots, thyme and garlic to the skillet.
- Pour the contents of the skillet into the crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Transfer the meat to a platter and cover to keep warm.
- Pour the sauce from the crock pot into a skillet and simmer over medium heat until reduced to about 2 cups. Season to taste with salt and pepper
- In a small bowl, combine the parsley, lemon zest and garlic to make a gremolata garnish.
- Serve the Osso Bucco topped with sauce and gremolata