I’m starting to realize that taking advantage of the excellent customer service at Heinen’s Grocery has great benefits. If I can’t find what I’m looking for or if I’m trying something new, simply asking a few questions usually puts me in just the right place. This week I wanted to make Osso Buco for my husband. Not just any Osso Buco, he wanted lamb. He recently ordered it at ZaZa’s in North Barrington and has been obsessed with its delicious flavor and simplicity ever since. I’m clearly not an Italian chef but I thought I would have a go at it anyway. I’m so glad I did. It wasn’t perfectly what he remembered but it was delicious.
Osso Buco, which is Italian for “bone with a hole,” may seem fancy today but for centuries it was a simple, hearty, rustic stew, perfect for cold days. Every Italian grandmother had an Osso Buco recipe. It really is a simple dish to make. The key is to use fresh, quality ingredients. I explained to the butcher at Heinen’s what I wanted to make and while I shopped for other things (and chilled my wine in the chiller) he cut the lamb shank into the perfect-sized pieces for my stew.
I served my stew on a bed of risotto that I made with lamb stock and baby spinach that I quickly sautéed until wilted in olive oil and chopped garlic. When plating I placed sauce in the bottom of the dish, added a helping of risotto then some of the spinach, then I topped it with the lamb adding a bit more sauce on top. This dish is rich, stick-to-your-ribs hearty and delicious. You’ll want to share it with friends.
- 4 pre-cut lamb Osso Buco
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch squares
- 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3-4 garlic gloves, crushed
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 quarts lamb stock
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
- Season lamb Osso Buco liberally with salt and pepper and set aside on a plate.
- In a heavy-bottomed roasting pan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil on stove top. Carefully place the Osso Buco in the hot roasting pan and sear all sides, until nicely browned. Once seared on all sides, remove from pan and set back onto plate.
- Using the same pot with the lamb drippings in the bottom, add carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Saute for approximately 10 minutes using a wooden spoon to scrape the lamb drippings off the bottom of the pan and to caramelize the vegetables. Once caramelized, add tomato paste, coat the vegetables with the paste, and brown slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Add the red wine to deglaze the pan, scraping the drippings off the bottom of pan using a wooden spoon. Reduce the wine by half and add the lamb stock and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the seared Osso Buco back into the pan. Change to high heat and once the stock starts to boil, put roasting pan into the oven. Cook the osso bucco for about 2 hours until it is fork tender, almost falling off the bone. You will want to turn the osso bucco every half hour so that it cooks evenly and does not burn on the bottom.
- When finished, take the lamb out of the sauce and set aside covered. In a blender, blend the sauce until the vegetables are pureed. Pour blended sauce back into the pot and allow to reduce to desired thickness.
- Place about a 1/4 cup of sauce into the bottom of each serving bowl, top with the osso bucco and drizzle with a little more sauce.