Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Osso, what? Shokubutsu?

Last Sunday, I told hubby that I wanted to attempt "osso buco" for dinner, and here, I must pause to inform readers that hubby is not a foodie at all. A simple man, he will just eat whatever's served at the table (and for that, he's a darling!), and unlike his wife, has very little interest in the culinary aspects of any dish, so long as there's no cuttlefish or squid in sight.

Mentioning "osso buco", he looked at me questioningly as I went on further to add, "you know, that Italian dish..", to which he replied, "osso whatever sure doesn't sound Italian, sounds like Shokubutsu or something Japanese!" Dear heaven! Shokubutsu is a brand of shower cream we use at home!

Okay... repeated conversation but this time, replaced the words "osso buco" with veal shanks cooked Italian style, and hubby happily drove me to Espirito Santo's latest outlet at Parkway Parade to get our hands on some veal shanks.

Osso Buco
One of those slow-cooking type of dishes, osso buco has a short list of ingredients and non-tedious prep work. Its only MAJOR requirement is that you must allow for at least one and a half to two hours of slow-cooking of the veal shanks in a Dutch oven (usually a cast-iron pot - Le Creuset or Staub brands are available in Singapore) to enable the magic to take place, where meat is transformed into tender morsels filled with flavors.
  • Season 4 thick slices of veal shanks (the ones I bought were slightly more than 1-inch thick) with salt and pepper, and dredge in plain flour, shaking off the excess flour.
  • Finely chop or dice 1 big onion (yellow onion), 2 stalks of celery and 1 medium-sized carrot - if you have food processor, use it!
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the Dutch oven on medium fire, and add the dredged veal shanks to brown on both sides (takes about 2 to 3 minutes per side) - remember to brown the sides as well - use a pair of tongs or chopsticks to hold the veal shanks in place (it's not easy to do it otherwise and don't even consider trying to balance the side of the shanks against the spatula).
  • When meat is browned, add the diced vegetables to the pot and cook until the vegetables are tender (stirring occasionally) - about 8 minutes or so.
  • In the meantime, chop up half a can of peeled tomatoes (for this type of slow-cooked dishes where the tomatoes end up in a sauce, I normally just reach for a can of Heinz or SW tomatoes - the red colors are better and it saves me the trouble of peeling the tomatoes).
  • Add a cup of dry white wine to the pot and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to do some partial deglazing. Add the chopped tomatoes and a cup of chicken broth.
  • Bring to a simmer, cover the pot and let the whole thing simmer on slow fire on top of the stove for 1 and 1/2 up to 2 hours until the meat is tender. If there's too much liquid, just leave the lid off until the sauce is reduced down.
  • Some chopped garlic, parsley and lemon zest are added to the pot just a few minutes before serving to let the fresh flavors mingle with the dish. If you like the taste of anchovies, this is the time to add the same (2 pieces, chopped).
With a bowl of 'osso buco' set on a plate with fresh baguette slices, and a spoon in hand (trust me, no knife is required at all as the tender meat will just fall off the bones), hubby and I progress to the couch for a night of dining before a World Cup match (the Holland vs. Serbia-M opening game). A glass of red Cecchi Chianti Classico 1998 Riserva in hand (lovely dark red color, a plum and cherry bouquet, full-bodied with sufficient oomph to handle the osso buco) and we declared this a mighty fine way to end a Sunday night!

And hubby will never confuse "osso buco" with 'shokubutsu' anymore!


Anonymous Tanna said...

Sounds like our house. One day I will make osso bucco and have the same conversation. Your photo is gorgeous and must have been excellent.

6/14/2006 02:23:00 AM  
Blogger boo_licious said...

Yeah, whenever I go on and on abt a dish, bf just blanks out and says whatever lar, you just cook it as long as it's something I will eat. The osso buco looks yummy - I love slow cooked food as the flavours really develop.

6/15/2006 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous slurp! said...

got to admit it sounds like japanese to me as well hehehehe ...
slow cook, slow food, what a perfect way to end Sunday night!!!

6/16/2006 01:38:00 AM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

@tanna, boo_licious and slurp! hubby will be very happy to know that he's not the only one who says "osso, what?" and thinks it's a Japanese dish!!

6/16/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous spots said...

haha ... osso buco rocks! the best part IS sucking the marrow out of the bone - it's like a glorified tulang :)

by the wya, the best veal shanks are from swiss butchery at greenwood i think ?

6/16/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger fooDcrazEE said...

OOH! I sure missed those Osso Bucco Milanese.....yummy

6/17/2006 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger Audrey Cooks said...

Hi Cath! osso I bucco u which means I just tagged u with a meme - 10 things I miss of mom's cooking. Happy posting!

6/17/2006 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

@spots, you've hit it on the nail - the sucking of the marrow from the veal bones is the BEST! Swiss butchery is a bit far off from where I stay but will try to find my way there one fine day :)

@foodcrazee... wish I could fed-ex some over to you!

@audrey, okay, you have 'bucco' me alright - will try to get my nostalgia hat on!

6/18/2006 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Precious Moments said...

This looks delish but the cooking process is way beyond my capability. shiok.

6/27/2006 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

@precious moments - not true at all (i.e. beyond your capability).. this recipe is really simple.. if you can read English and follow simple instructions, you must try for the results are stupendously delicious!

6/27/2006 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

osso buzi.. whatever it is .. it looks yummy.. but difficult to cook leh

6/29/2006 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

@robin - no leh... it's not difficult at all... everything goes into the pot.. just have to watch the heat and have a leisurely afternoon at home!

6/29/2006 10:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Julia said...

Heh, my hubby sounds just like yours, totally ignorant about exotic food and ingredients. Once, he saw couscous, and asked me what it was. I said, "Couscous", and he thought I was trying to be funny! :)

8/02/2006 05:06:00 AM  

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