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Crock It! Osso Buco


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My Osso Buco is a lot like my chicken soup and my spaghetti sauce: A little different each time I make it.

I loved Osso Buco the first time I tried it–which was when my dad ventured into cooking things that were not grill-related–and I’ve been hooked ever since. The difficulty was that it was tough to find a recipe 16 years ago when I wanted to make my own.

I am lazy, so I often went by my memory of what my dad did. Hence, the slight difference each time I made it. Generally speaking, my preference is to have the veal in a clear lemon and wine based sauce rather than the tomato-based version.

In a restaurant you don’t always know what to expect and, believe it or not, I’ve been disappointed. Not because I’m such a fabulous cook, but because I like it the way I make it–kind of like Mom’s Thanksgiving Turkey. It just isn’t the same when someone else makes it. So, this recipe is a combination of what my dad did, what I have done, and a few recipes I have been able to find more recently but I still went mostly by memory.

Slow Cooker Osso Buco

4 veal shanks
1 cup of flour
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 large onion cut in eighths
3 carrots cut in quarters lengthwise
2-3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2-3 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine
2 bay leaves
Juice from ½ lemon
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 small can of diced tomatoes, drained
Italian Seasoning, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste

What’s Next

  • Put flour, salt and pepper in a pie plate or shallow dish.
  • Coat veal shanks in flour-salt-pepper mixture. Set aside.
  • Warm olive oil in a Dutch oven or large wide pot.
  • Brown veal shanks in olive oil for 3-4 minutes per side. Place in slow cooker.
  • Next, saute onions, carrots, and garlic in Dutch oven, adding more oil if necessary. These should only be cooked for 5-7 minutes. The vegetables should be browned, but not too soft. Toward the end of cooking, add a generous amount of Italian seasoning. Transfer to slow cooker with veal shanks.
  • Add chicken broth to slow cooker, filling to about 2/3 of the way up to the sides of the veal shanks.
  • Add white wine, bay leaves, lemon juice and cover.
  • Cook on high for 4-6 hours.
  • About 30 minutes before cooking is done, add the parsley, diced tomatoes and lemon zest if desired.

Notes from my experience

  • While I don’t typically enjoy browning meat before placing in my CrockPot, for this recipe it’s definitely necessary. The shanks are very thick and with so many mild flavors, the flavor from the browned meat really is necessary.
  • Recently, Costco started selling 4-packs of veal shanks at a very reasonable price. I paid roughly $16 or $17, which is very affordable.
  • I typically don’t stress over what kind of white wine to use when cooking. I use whatever is leftover in my refrigerator.
  • My kids ate this, too. I told my 3-year-old it was chicken and that seemed to work out well for everyone.
  • I served this over risotto, something I don’t normally make. In the spirit of keeping dinner time manageable, it was from a box, but the flavor goes so well with Osso Buco, that I just had to do it.

Want to know more about my Crock It! Series? You can read all about it here.

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