Osso Buco Stew

Posted on January 27, 2015 by


This morning I thought I was going to move to London in about 48 hours. By noon I knew I’d have to wait another three weeks because we messed up and one of our cats doesn’t yet meet the EU pet import requirements. It’s costly and inconveniences everybody. Tonight I made osso buco stew to help myself feel better. We sold all of our pots already so I bought a fairly cheap new one. Whatever. I regret nothing.

I like using osso buco in stew, even though it’s a costly cut, because veal is softer without extra fat and because the marrow adds richness. Stew is always infinitely better the day after you cook it so don’t even think about eating it straight from the pan. Cool it in the fridge overnight and reheat the next day.

I make my stew broth from vegetables. I promise: if you cook spinach long enough, it melts away. I love the velvety stews I get from cooking the hell out of fresh vegetables.

One last thing (and I am certain this has been said before but it bears repeating): fantasy people need to stop eating stews on the road. Stews are hard work, take a long time, and were never intended as rushed road food. I mean, seriously…if you’re hiding from trollogoblinspiderdragons you might not want to leave something cooking over a fire for, like, six hours? Stews were always about using the bits and pieces left behind after you use all the best cuts, which is why they take forever to cook and have everything in them except dirt. Maybe sometimes dirt.

If you need a dish for your fantasy people to eat on the run, try dried meat, nuts, sweet dense biscuits, or something else that will keep in a pocket for weeks and can be eaten while walking.

– 4 osso buco (Please choose humanely-raised veal!)
– a few tablespoons all-purpose flour
– 2 large pinches dried herbes de provence with lavender
– 1-2 tbsp butter
– splash olive oil
– bay leaf
– 2 large multi-bulb shallots
– generous splash white wine
– 1 very large box baby spinach
– 2 portobello caps
– 5 fresh tomatoes or one very large can
– bunch small carrots
– 3-4 celery stalks
– 1 potato, washed but skin on
– fresh rosemary
– fresh thyme
– fiddlehead ferns (if you can get them!)
– just a little bit of fresh lavender (optional)
– salt and pepper to season

I. Separate the osso buco into pieces. The meat is naturally divided by membranes. Trim excess membrane/sinew. Put all of the pieces, including the bone, into a bag. Toss with dried herbes de provence and flour. Mince shallots.

Heat butter, oil, and bay leaf in a nonstick deep pot. Brown floured meat over medium high until a nice caramel coating forms. Deglaze with white wine, then cook down again until sticky. Add shallots, reduce heat a little, and cook until shallots are transparent and have light brown edges.

II. Pile spinach on top of meat, then add roughly chopped portobello caps. Cover and reduce to low. When the spinach is wilted, add tomatoes. Cook for hours and hours over a low heat until you can’t distinguish the individual vegetables anymore, the meat is falling apart, and the bone is bare of marrow. (You’ll probably have to add water several times during this process.) Remove bones.

III. In a small, separate pan, lightly oil the carrots, celery, and potatoes. Sauté until tender. Add to meat mixture, and cook until the potatoes are done. Add the fresh herbs and ferns. Cook until flavours are melded and the ferns are no longer raw. Taste and season.

IV. Let stew cool and store in the fridge AT LEAST overnight, preferably 24 hours.

V. Heat up and eat! Om nom.

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