Osso Bucco with orange juice and red wine in it..!? These were my initial thoughts when I found Matt Moran’s Recipe in Delicious. But still, the thought of a slow cooked warming winter dish, meat falling off the bone, drew me in. Result? Yum!

I had given up reading cooking magazines some time ago – mainly due to disillusionment about the amount of advertising or impracticality of some of the recipes. So imagine my delight in finding a treasure trove of recipes in the July issue of Delicious Magazine (I’m working my way through them, next up, Spicy Pork Ramen).

For those of you unfamiliar with Osso Bucco, it’s a dish that originates from Milan in Italy. Usually containing Veal Shin, Osso Bucco is Italian for ‘bone with a hole’ (Osso bone, bucco hole) – thanks Wikipedia.

The recipe (full recipe below) calls for Veal Osso Bucco but says you can substitute beef, that’s what I usually do as I’m yet to find Veal Osso Bucco (admittedly I haven’t made an exhaustive search). I decided to make a half quantity, as my kids wouldn’t eat this, so four Osso Bucco is enough for us with ample leftovers.

Mise en placeAs a somewhat OCD person, I do like my mise en place (prep / everything ready), so I always start out new recipes by having everything ready to cook. This meant finely dicing leek, carrot and celery, preparing stock, weighing lentils. I’m not sure why but it ended up taking me an hour in total until I got this dish in the oven.

I started by preheating the oven to 160 C, then seasoning and flour dusting the osso bucco, browning them in a heavy based PAN and draining the oil. Then cooking the mirepoix of leek, carrot and celery until soft and sticking to the pan. Mirepoix is one of those aromas that just makes your house smell like something really good is coming.

After this I added the lentils and Swiss brown mushrooms. The recipe called for Puy Lentils, I used MacKenzies French Style Lentils which looked the same and turned out great (no I’m not sponsored by them, just thought I’d let you know that it’s a good substitute for Puy). Also I do recommend using Swiss Browns instead of button mushrooms, it’s worth it as the nutty flavour and chunky texture was perfect in the dish.

Then went in the orange juice, red wine, stock and herbs. My guilty admission at this point is that I used dried Oregano. I blame our local possum who eats all my herbs. Even scud chillies, little bugger. Anyway, still tasted great but next time I’ll make the effort.

For this reason I also didn’t make the Oregano Gremolata. Again, next time. But it was still good even without this.

Then brought all this to the boil and placed in the oven. About 2.5 hours later I opened the lid to a beautifully thickened sauce and meat falling off the bone.   The recipe does call for leaving the lid off in the oven to thicken up further but this wasn’t necessary (it becomes clear to you all right about here that I’m not a food stylist.  I did contemplate photographing my meal, but I was hungry dammit!)

I served with mashed potatoes with loads of butter and steamed veg.

In a word – divine. Like a big warm, winter hug, so hearty, great flavours that allowed the beef to shine and just a hint of the sweet clean flavour of orange juice which kind of cut through the richness of the dish.

I’ll absolutely be making this again, it was a total winner!

RECIPE (thank you Delicious and Matt Moran)
This is the full recipe which serves 8 – I halved it (and didn’t make the Gremolata, next time I will)

  • 1 2/3 cup (250g) Plain Flour
  • 8 x 375g Veal Osso Bucco (substitute beef)
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed, chopped
  • 2/3 cup (160ml sunflower oil)
  • 375g Puy Lentils (I used MacKenzies French Style Lentils)
  • 250g Swiss Brown Mushrooms
  • 2 cups (500ml) red wine
  • 2 cups (500ml) orange juice
  • 2L (8 cups) veal stock (substitute beef)
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1/2 bunch oregano, leaves picked (see above, I used dried… damn you possum!)
  • Micro parsley and torn baguette, to serve (umm, didn’t exactly use these either)

Oregano Gremolata:

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil
  • 1 bunch oregano, leaves picked, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, leaves picked, finely chopped
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 160 C.

Place flour in bowl and season (or my tip: use a zip lock bag).  Toss osso bucco in seasoned flour to coat, dust off excess flour.

Place leek, carrot and celery in a food processor and whiz until finely chopped (or chop manually like I did…).

Heat 1/3 cup (80ml) oil in a large heavy-based casserole dish with a lid over high heat.  In two batches, add the osso bucco, turning 3-4 minutes each side until browned.  Using tongs (rather than fingers? ha ha), transfer to a plate and set aside.  Discard any remaining oil.

Add leek mixture and remaining 1/3 (80ml) cup of oil, stirring occasionally for 6-8 minutes or until ingredients are beginning to catch on the base of the casserole dish.

Add lentils and mushrooms and stir through.

Add wine and orange juice and bring to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook, scraping the bottom of the casserole with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Add stock, bay leaves, oregano and osso bucco.  Bring to the boil, then cover and transfer to the oven.  Cook for 2.5 – 3 hours or until the meat easily pulls away from the bone.

Increase oven temperature to 200 C and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced slightly (Note: I didn’t do this, my sauce was thick enough when I checked it).

Meanwhile, for the Oregano Gremolata, combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Divide osso bucco among bowls and scatter with gremolata and micro parsley.  Serve with the torn baguette (or like me, serve atop buttery potato mash with some steamed veg).

And the best part – left overs the next day!