November, 2011 Menu

Osso Bucco

with Roasted Butternut Squash

and Creamy Polenta

Osso bucco with roasted butternut squash and creamy polenta

In November, 2011 our groups dined on Osso Bucco, Butternut Squash, and Creamy Polenta


Osso Bucco is made of the meat that surrounds the femur bone along with that same piece of bone and, most importantly, the marrow that is inside. It is one of the most tender and sweet pieces of meat you will ever eat. First, because it is veal, and that white meat is more subtle in flavor than beef. Second, it benefits from the proximity of the bone marrow. This confers to the meat a buttery savor.

This recipe can be either an entrée or a side dish. As always, it’s a good idea to practice making the dish a few times before hosting a dinner. I, for example, did not put enough liquid my first time and almost burned the dish.

The ingredients may be difficult for people to find so it would be better for the person who cooks to find the ingredients and ask guests to contribute $10 to $15. Others can bring salad, wine, bread or dessert.

(For ten people)

Osso Bucco
10 pieces veal shank (order from the butcher a week in advance)
5 tbsp flour
Salt and black pepper
8 tbsp olive oil
5 onions peeled and chopped
12 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thick
3 cups of dry white wine
8 thyme sprigs
8 rosemary sprigs
4 bay leaves
8 medium ripe tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
Bunch of Italian parsley

Put flour in a big bowl. Season with salt and pepper. One at a time, roll the veal pieces in the flour so that they are lightly coated.

In a large pan, heat the olive oil. This pan can be your final cooking dish so that you do not dirty too many dishes, thus you should choose a deep pan such as a Dutch oven. Brown the veal pieces in it. When they are golden in color, they are done. This should take 1 min. per side. Put the veal aside on a plate.

In that same deep pan, cook the onions in olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes until they are golden and soft. Add the garlic at the last minute.

Position the veal pieces back into the deep pan. Pour the wine and chicken stock into the pan. Add the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. The veal pieces should be covered up to 2 thirds of their height.

Stir in the tomatoes and add salt and pepper.

Cover the pan with a lid, cook in the oven for about 1 hour and 45 minutes at 380°F. After an hour and 15 minutes, start to check it. The liquid must not go below 2 inches. If it does, add more chicken stock and wine. Check the tenderness of the meat. When it starts to flake away from the bone, it is ready. If not, cook longer, in increments of 10 minutes.

Roasted butternut squash

3 large butternut squash
7 tbsp olive oil
8 garlic cloves peeled and sliced
5 rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped

Peel and seed the squash. Cut into small cubes. Place in a bowl with olive oil, garlic, thyme and rosemary, and a little bit of salt and pepper. Toss it all together. (This way is more efficient than sprinkling oil over them).

Spread onto a baking tray and put into oven (it be put next to the Osso Bucco pan) for about 40 minutes until tender. If it caramelizes, all the better. But be careful that it does not stick to the tray. After 30 minute, turn the squash cubes over to avoid any burning.

Creamy Polenta

3 cups instant polenta
14 cups water
3 tbsp butter
3 oz grated parmesan
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Juice of half a lemon

This is the last thing to cook as it runs the risk of being too firm if you wait too long before serving. Pour the water into a large pot, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Slowly pour in the polenta and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, parmesan, heavy whipping cream and lemon juice. Season with pepper and salt to taste.

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