Osso Buco with Gremolata

This morning the temperature fell to a single digit in Noosa (a chilly 9 Celcius) – a reminder that winter is not far away. At this time of the year at my place, salads and simple barbecue meals begin to get replaced by comfort foods such as casseroles, curries and braises. Osso Buco literally means “bone with a hole” and the bone barrow is an appealing part of this classic Italian dish. Like many braised dishes, this tastes better the day after it is made. Osso Buco is traditionally served with Gremolata (lemon, parsley and garlic mixture) and often on a bed of polenta, but potato mash is a worthy accompaniment. Serve with a glass of Pinot Noir or Merlot.

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 large or 8 small pieces veal Osso Buco (shin slices)
½ cup plain flour seasoned with a little salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 x 400g peeled, chopped tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bayleaf
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to season
Gremolata:
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
¼ cup finely chopped parsley

Method:
1. Roll the Osso Buco in the seasoned flour and shake off excess.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan or cast-iron casserole with a lid over a medium-high heat. Add the Osso Buco and brown on all sides (do in batches if necessary). This will take about 5 minutes per batch. Remove to a large plate and set aside.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the finely chopped carrot, celery and onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the chopped garlic and cook a further 1 minute.
5. Increase the heat and add the wine, tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, bayleaf and thyme leaves. Bring the mixture to the boil.
6. Add the Osso Buco and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
7. Remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the meat is very tender and sauce has reduced. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
8. For the Gremolata: combine the ingredients in a small bowl.
9. To serve, spoon the sauce over the Osso Buco and top with the Gremolata.

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