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a yummy substitute for maccas: lamb shanks in osso bucco sauce with anchovy gremolata

osso bucco

I have a confession to make this is a bit embarrassing for a food writer: I (until recently) had never cooked Osso Bucco and had thought it to be a very complicated and laborious recipe.

When I was younger it was one of my very favourite things to order when I went out to dinner. Because it wasn’t something we cooked at home it had the power of novelty on its side as well as being full of fatty meat and garlic, two of my favourite things (yesterday, today, and I suspect, tomorrow). The smells, the presentation, everything about it to me screamed ‘complicated, full of secret ingredients and prepared with incredibly involved techniques that only super chefs can perform). So, I happily slotted it into my ‘treat food’ file and not in my ‘hey, I bet I could replicate that at home file’.

Imagine my surprise when I Googled several recipes for Osso Bucco to see just how complicated it really was and found that it was relatively simple and the most strenuous thing it required of the cook was patience. I think I must have exalted it as one of those dishes that is so delicious and even slightly mythical that I assumed I would never be able to make it. Not only was I able to make it, I cobbled together my very own recipe that was inspired by about half a dozen different sources.

I cruised my local fresh food markets and ferreted around for the exact right cut of meat. Unfortunately I couldn’t find one specified in all the recipes so I had to cheat and buy some lamb shanks. I’m happy to report it worked out superbly and all my friends were super impressed (that’s another good thing about throwing dinner parties, ego boosting!)

Sometimes a reality check is needed with cooking. And a fair amount of gusty, Sarah Connor style, blazoning through it. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

 

Ingredients

Olive oil

3 garlic cloves, crushed

3 carrots, chopped

4 celery sticks, chopped

4 lamb shanks

1 cup white wine

2 cans diced tomatoes

2 cups chicken stock

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs sage

2 sprigs thyme

Anchovy Gremolata

2 garlic clove, crushed

Zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

6 anchovies, chopped

 

Method

Preheat oven to 170?

Heat a large pan with a splash of olive oil. Add the onions and allow to sweat for five minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for a further five minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook for a further 10 minutes. Set aside.

Place shanks in the pan with a little more olive oil and cook on high for three to four minutes on each side, sealing the meat. Place the shanks in a deep oven proof tray and ladle over the onion, garlic and vegetables.

Place the pan back on high heat with a little more olive oil. Add the wine and cook for two minutes. Pour in the tomatoes (the pulpier, the better) and stock and the fresh herbs (excluding the parsley) and bring to the boil, stirring so as to scrape up any yummy bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Pour the tomato mixture over the meat. Add some salt and pepper and cover with foil and place in oven. Cook for 1.5 hours.

Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the gremolata in a mixing bowl and combine well. Once the meat has been cooked remove the pan from oven and spoon gremolata over the top. Re-cover with the foil and let sit for five minutes.

Serve with creamy mashed potato or crusty bread. Or both – carb overload!

Serves 4

Note – this recipe will have a fair amount of sauce left over which is lovely the next day on its own or spooned over lamb chops. Use it in any creative way!

 

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