We bought our own slow cooker so that we could return the one we had borrowed from Carol. Susan found a large one because she wanted to try it with brisket. Dutifully, I went to the butcher shop and bought a beautiful 3 pound brisket that was just the right size for the cooker. (I’ll post the family recipe for that at a later date. ) While I was waiting for the butcher to cut the brisket to order, my eye caught some meaty veal shanks lined up in pairs in one corner of the display case. To my way of thinking, shanks of any sort – lamb, veal, beef – are delicious and perfect for braising. They turn out fork-tender and suffused with the herbs and liquids that you use to braise them. Another perfect meal for the slow cooker. I had two wrapped up with plans for dinner for the evening. Those plans would include topping the braised veal with the traditional gremolata, a distant cousin of chimichurri and Italian salsa verde, and scooping out the braised marrow to spread on toast soldiers. I wound up serving the mirepoix – onion, celery, and carrot – but you can strain it out. I think that would be too bad because the braised vegetables are so flavorful. You can also add tomatoes, anchovies, and different herbs – or not. There are many recipes and variations for osso buco, so unless you’re a purist you can take some liberties with the preparation to make it your own.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cross-cut veal shanks
- ½ cup carrots, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup celery, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup white onion, coarsely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- bouquet garni ( 3 sprigs parsley, bay leaf, 3 sage leaves, 3 branches thyme in cheesecloth packet)
- ½ cup chicken stock
- ½ cup dry white wine
- salt and pepper
- Heat the olive oil in the slow cooker set at LOW. Add the veal shanks, turning them until they are lightly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Don’t worry if they don’t brown fully on the low temperature of the cooker.
- Add the carrots, celery, onion, smashed garlic, bouquet garni, chicken stock, and white wine. Cook, covered, for 3 hours with the cooker set on SIMMER if you have that setting, otherwise, set on LOW. Check periodically and add more chicken stock if needed.
- Remove the bouquet garni and correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve the lamb shanks on a bed of the vegetables on individual plates with the braising liquid ladled over them. You can make a thicker sauce if you wish to use another pan. Transfer the braising liquid to a small saucepan over a medium flame to reduce the liquid by half. Top with the gremolata.
- 12 sprigs of parsley, stems removed and leaves chopped very finely
- 1 large clove garlic, base and green sprout – if any – removed
- 1 lemon, zest + 1 tablespoon juice
- salt and pepper
- On a cutting board, chop the parsley finely and push it into a compact pile.
- Using a micro plane, grate the garlic onto the pile of parsley.
- Again using the micro plane, zest the lemon onto the parsley.
- Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
- With your fingers, combine the ingredients. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl.
- Serve on top of the braised veal shank, and pass any extra at the table.