The real heart of cooking is in the sharing. The bringing together of friends and family to enjoy a meal in each others company. Though I may share hundreds of recipes here in this space, I find the most joy in preparing a simple table full of favorite dishes for the ones I love. Especially in the winter when the night air bites, the sun sets early, and a cozy table full of hearty comfort is all the more welcome.
I’ve never been one to fuss excessively over table settings. In fact, I’ve discovered that with a few beautiful, well placed pieces, a whole table can come together with almost effortless grace. Crystal is one of those binding elements, in who’s presence everything surrounding it becomes elevated. On my table, my favorite elements are natural and organic. Not necessarily what one would expect on an elegantly set tables. Ceramics, natural woods, rumpled linens. With the addition of Saint-Louis Crystal it all becomes new. Changed. Just the addition of glassware alone on a table full of simple place settings is transformative. A beautiful vase need not be filled with heavily arranged flowers – just a few sprigs of eucalyptus are enough to compliment it’s sparkling presence. Design has never been my forte, so pieces that can do the thinking for me are essential!
This Winter season has been full of gatherings over a good meal – Osso Bucco has been my go-to as it is warming, hearty, and rustically elegant while being easy to prepare ahead of time so that you can enjoy your evening without being ripped away from your guests to attend to the meal. Osso Bucco is a dish of rich on the bone meats slowly cooked in a sauce of wine, broth, tomato, finely diced vegetables and aromatic herbs. The end result is a fall-apart, fork tender serving of beef in a sumptuous sauce. Veal shanks are traditionally used in this dish, but I prefer to use beef shanks or oxtails as they are more readily available in my area. This dish can be prepared hours before dinner so that once you are ready to eat it only needs to be taken from oven to table. I serve mine over a heap mashed parsnips and potatoes and sprinkle the whole dish with a simple pine nut gremolata. A loaf of crusty bread rounds out the whole meal.
A word of warning – I’ve seen a petite, fairy-sized woman take down a portion of this dish fit for a mountain man without batting an eye. So perhaps plan for large serving sizes, hmm?
- FOR THE OSSO BUCCO:
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 4 Cross-cut Beef Shanks or Large Oxtails
- Sea Salt, to taste
- Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- 2 Celery Stalks, cut in a small dice
- 2 Carrots, cut in a small dice
- 1 small Sweet Onion, small dice
- 4 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon Double Concentrate Tomato Paste
- 2 tablespoons Arrowroot starch
- 1 cup Dry Wine(I use red and white interchangeably, this was made with a chablis)
- 2 cups Beef Stock
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon Fresh Rosemary, chopped
- FOR THE PINE NUT GREMOLATA:
- 2 tablespoons Pine Nuts, lightly toasted
- Zest of a small Lemon
- 3 tablespoons Parsley, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon Coarse Ground Sea Salt
- FOR THE OSSO BUCCO:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Add the oil to a ceramic dutch oven and heat to medium/high.
- Dry off the beef shanks and coat each side with salt and pepper.
- Add the shanks to the hot oil and allow to deeply brown on both sides. When each side of the shanks have browned, remove from the pan and let rest on a plate.
- Add the celery, carrot, and onion to the pan and saute over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato paste and arrowroot to the vegetables and stir in, cooking for 30 seconds.
- Pour the wine into the pan and bring to a boil, stirring to loosen up any bits that are stuck to the pan. When the wine has reduced enough to form a very thick sauce, stir in the beet broth. Bring to a boil and add the browned shanks back in to the pan, submerging them in the liquid.
- Sprinkle the herbs over the sauce and cover the pan with a lid.
- Place the pan in the preheated oven and cook for another 2 to 2½ hours, or until the meat is so tender that it falls right off the bone.
- FOR THE GREMOLATA:
- Combine all ingredients just before serving, tossing them well to evenly distribute the zest and salt.
- Serve the osso bucco over mashed potatoes, sprinkled with the Gremolata.