Osso, what? Shokubutsu?
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.
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).
And hubby will never confuse "osso buco" with 'shokubutsu' anymore!