My Osso Buco is a lot like my chicken soup and my spaghetti sauce: a little different each time I make it. I won't say if that's a good thing or a bad thing, it's just my thing.
I loved Osso Buco the first time I tried it–which was when my dad ventured into cooking Italian dishes that ranged from home made pasta to Veal Piccata to, you guessed it, Osso Buco. 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 went by memory of what my dad did rather than buy and search through dozens of cookbooks. The internet was in its infancy then so an online search was not an option. Hence, the slight difference each time I made it. I can honestly say, however, that there was never a bad version made from my kitchen.
What I have found I don't care for so much was ordering it in a restaurant and receiving meat that was not fall-off-the-bone tender and was sitting in an tomato based sauce, rather than a lemon white wine sauce brightened up with some fresh parsley. So, I have stuck to making my own, and loved every minute of it. 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 the one recipe I was able to find several years ago when I started making my own.
What I love about making this in my Crock Pot (the best Christmas present I have ever received!) is that I can start at 10 a.m. and dinner is ready whenever we are hungry. For my kids, that's somewhere around 5 (I have a snack cut-off time of 4:30) and for me, it's whenever my husband gets home from work. My Crock Pot keeps the dish warm without drying it out which is very beneficial in my house. The added bonus- my kids love this meal and I'm not a make-two-kinds-of-dinner mom. The photo unfortunately doesn't show the true beauty of this dish- I had a different camera then but haven't had time to remake the recipe and take new pictures.
Slow Cooker Osso Buco
Ingredients: 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
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.