So let me start off with a little back story. My husband is currently in training for 7 months before he heads to his next ship so I am living with a few Navy friends while I finish up the school year. We have a mission to cook at least one Julia Child inspired recipe each week. Last week I made “Saute de Boeuf a la Bourguignonne” (Beef Saute with Red Wine, Mushrooms, Bacon, and Onions) from Julia Child’s infamous Mastering The Art of French Cooking. Needless to say that cooking mushrooms and onions in bacon fat, searing filet mignon in oil and butter, and dousing everything in a red wine reduction was simply heavenly.
This may not seem like an “everyday wife life” kind of meal, but it was surely a great treat for a weekend day when it’s raining or a weekend without little ones running around (for those of you who have them!)
This week we are using The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer, who was an idol of Miss Child’s in her beginning years. The recipe is Osso Buco (Braised Lamb Shanks) and it is melt-in-your-mouth awesome! It starts with a dutch oven, which lamb (or veal) shanks are seared in a butter/olive oil mixture just until browned.
The meat is removed and a mixture of carrot, onion, celery, and mushrooms (per roomie’s love of them) is placed in the pot. Over the veggies goes a herb mix of thyme, parsley, bay leaf, and garlic.
Those are cooked down until soft and fragrant and then the shanks are added back in with the addition of white wine and chicken stock. This mixture is braised for an hour, the shanks are turned, and more chicken stock is added and the meat cooks for another hour.
We decided to serve the lamb shanks over a bed of herbed cous cous although it is traditionally served over risotto or creamy polenta.
I strongly urge all wives (new and veteran) to try a recipe from either one of these books. It will not only surprise the pants off of your hubby (maybe even literally!), but will provide a deliciously rich meal that will have you talking for weeks!
Here’s the full recipe (The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer, 2006 ed.):
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pat dry:
8 slices veal (or lamb) shank, 1 1/2 inches thick
Heat in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Add the shanks in batches and brown well on all sides, adding more oil as needed. Remove to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add to the pot:
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 celery rib, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small Bouquet Garni (3-4 sprigs parsley, 1/2 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 leek (white portion only), 2 cloves)
Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened. Return the shanks to the pot, arranging in a single layer. Add:
1 cup dry white wine (we used Sauvingon Blanc)
1 cup veal or chicken stock
Black pepper to taste
The liquid should reach about halfway up the shanks. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, place in the oven, and braise for 1 hour. Turn the slices over and add, if needed, to the level halfway up the shanks:
1 to 2 cups veal or chicken stock
Braise until the meat is tender, about 1 hour more. Turn off oven, remove the shanks to an ovenproof serving platter and keep warm in the oven. Spoon off any fat from the braising juices, strain the juices into a saucepan, and boil over high heat until slightly thickened. Before serving, stir in:
Gremolata (2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Spoon the sauce over the meat and serve with:
Risotto Milanese, or Soft Polenta (we chose cous cous for a little spin on traditional!)