This is my husband’s favorite meal and is packed with rich flavors in every scrumptious bite. It is NOT a quick and easy recipe and I won’t be preparing it when we are underway on long passages. It’s for special occasions and fills the cabin with an amazing scent for hours as it simmers.
I made this on a Thursday during the Pandemic. The special occasion? Because Aaron gets up early every day to go to a job in a very scary time to support our family. My job is to help care for our Grands so my daughter can work, keep our home clean and tidy, and feed him. Because I now shop only once a week and we have a teeny fridge and no freezer, I’ve been sticking with simple proteins and veggies. But once a week, I plan something special to show him my appreciation and love … and he eats up both! 🙂 Bonus is that Tiki gets the beef bones!
The key to this recipe is to start early and simmer for hours, allow another few hours to sit covered, then put in the oven for the final hour. No knives are needed when it has been cooked all day … it is falling off the bone and fork tender. It truly is OHMYGOD delish!
Variations: Osso Buco is traditionally made with veal, but we prefer the flavor of beef with the rich base. I like my pieces to be two inches thick and usually ask the butcher to pull me two rather than trust what’s in the cello-wrapped trays. Some cooks dredge the meat in flour before braising; I don’t as they brown nicely and due to the long simmer and liquid reduction the mixture doesn’t need a thickening agent. I serve over smashed potatoes or polenta, both made with butter and milk, but you could also serve with wide egg noodles or other pasta.
- 3 – 4 lbs beef shanks (I used 2 thick ones; if they are cut thinner, you will need 3)
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups diced white onions
- 8 diced garlic cloves
- 30 diced baby carrots
- 10 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 1/2 cup red wine (plus a glass for yourself!)
- 8 ounces beef broth
- 2 – 14.5 ounce cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes (don’t drain)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or oven-proof pot with a lid.
- Over medium-high heat, braise the shanks in the butter for about 5 minutes on each side. Don’t move during this time so they brown nicely.
- Move the shanks to a plate.
- Cook the onion until browned and tender; about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, carrots, mushrooms and herbs and cook until soft and fragrant; about 6 minutes.
- Pour in wine and deglaze; about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the broth and diced tomatoes and turn up to high heat.
- Bring to a boil, submerge the shanks in the sauce, and reduce to simmer. (The sauce will appear a bit purple and thin; don’t worry it will thicken up and deepen to a red-brown as it cooks.)
- Simmer for 2 hours, partially covered to allow steam to escape, stirring every so often.
- Turn off heat, cover and allow to sit until one hour before serving. Don’t stir.
- Heat oven to 300 degrees.
- The mixture should be reduced to a thick sauce. Stir and put covered pot in oven for one hour.
Serves 4 – 6 with smashed potatoes.
My favorite part of cooking is using items that belonged to my beloved Nana and I remember her cooking with. The Dutch oven and the pastry dough mixer were her mother’s and brought to America in the 1940’s when she, my Papy and mother immigrated from Ireland. I smile every time I use them, thinking that her hands held them and loving created meals for our family and that I am doing the same. Tradition makes my heart happy.