Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ossobuco in Bianco

As far as I can remember, winter in the Cape arrives around Easter weekend - regardless of where it falls in any particular year - and there is snow on the mountains of Franschhoek.

All of a sardine you are craving rich stews & casseroles as the instinct to fatten up is activated.  This recipe omits the more traditional tomatoes and includes anchovies - one of my favourite secret ingredients – and white wine rather than red.

Veal shin is preferred but beef shin works fine, just a bit more glutinous. The Gremolata garnish is the best and almost as inspirational as the rich savouriness of the dish.

8 pieces of veal shin, thickly sliced for bone marrow and some height on the plate.

75g plain flour; salt & pepper; 120g butter; 2 Tbsp butter, 2 peeled and finely chopped small red onions, 4-5 trimmed celery stalks for extra Umami, 2 peeled and chopped garlic cloves, 10 anchovies rinsed if salted, ideally red in colour, 375ml dry white wine preferably unoaked.

Preheat oven to 150°C. Put the flour in a plastic shopping bag with some salt and cracked pepper to dust the shin rather than yourself and the rest of the kitchen.

If you don’t have a casserole that can handle hob and oven, first brown the veal in a pot relay fashion. Melt all the butter and half the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot/casserole and brown the Ossobuco. Remove and pour away the fat. Add the remaining butter and gently fry the onion and celery until soft but not brown – lid on for a bit helps. Then add the garlic and anchovies, once they melt away pour in the wine, bring to the boil and reduce.

Put the Ossobuco back into the casserole, ideally in one layer with the narrower section of the bones in each piece at the bottom to keep the marrow in place. Cover with wax paper and the lid and casserole for at least 2 hours.

While it’s in the oven make the most aromatic and zesty Gremolata. Mix finely grated zest of 2 lemons, 1 peeled & finely chopped garlic clove, and 3 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley and sprinkle over the cooked Ossobuco.

If you want to push the boat out serve it with Risotto Milanese.

1 litre chicken stock – if you’re using instant dilute more than instructions recommend as they can be salty. S&P, 150g butter, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 finely chopped red onion, 300g risotto (fino cooks quicker),1 Tbsp saffron, 75ml extra dry vermouth or dry white wine, 150g Parmesan.

Melt 75g of the butter and all the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot and gently fry the onion until soft. Add the rice stirring to coat before adding 1-2 ladlefuls of hot stock to cover the rice, simmer and stir until it starts getting sticky. Add the saffron.  Continue stirring and adding more stock as required until al dente.

Add the remaining butter in small pieces while stirring vigorously off the heat, then the vermouth – which cuts the starch beautifully – and finally the parmesan with a few light stirs so it does not go stringy.

While robust, this is a lighter style Ossobuco so maybe avoid full bodied, heavily oaked reds. Besides a Pinot or Zinfandel try a rich, oaked Chardonnay. Its an enormously satisfying meal and definitely one of my top 5 winter meals. Buon Appetito!

Jonathan Snashall

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