It’s Osso Bucco Time

Is it getting better?  No.  Is it time to make Osso Bucco?  Yes.  I am about to take on the New York City Department of Education single handedly and with no cute suit.  If a person can make a good Osso Bucco, they can do anything.  Or so I like to believe.

Buy good meat.  Meat with a history you can be proud of.  Lightly dredge both sides with a teensy bit of flour, shaking off any excess.  Season both sides well with kosher salt and a bit of freshly ground pepper. Heat up a heavy frying pan and sear them well; flip and sear again.  Remove from the pan.  Pour off the fat and add a tablespoon or so of olive oil.  For six pieces of osso bucco, you will need one pound of carrots, all of the inside pieces from a head of celery, two onions and three cloves of garlic.  Chop it all very finely with the exception o of the garlic–leave the garlic whole.  (you can use the food processor if you have to EXCEPT for the onion.)  Saute for about half an hour over a low heat.  Towards the end, add a few tablespoons of tomato paste right in the middle of the pan, scraping the veggies to the side to give the tomato room to toast.  Let that go for about a minute, and turn off the heat.  (No one said it was going to be easy.) Meanwhile get some of those raw chicken bones you have been keeping in the freezer and bring them to a boil in a separate pot.  At the boil, throw away the water (not the bones), wash out the pot, rinse off the bones, and start again–same bones, new water.  Add a carrot and a stalk of celery and an onion and a parsley spring, a sprig of thyme, a bay leaf and a piece of tomato.  And a pepper corn.  Let it all come to the boil and allow to simmer for a hour or so.  (The point is also to completley engage one for an extended period of time to distract from anything/everything that is going on in the world outside your door.)  Now.  Set the osso bucco into a baking pan and scrape the vegetables that you have sauteed over the top.  Get them around the edges as well so that the meat is surrounded.  Pour either red or white wine (red is traditional) into the saute pan to get all of that stuff sticking to the pan, and bring the wine to a simmer for about two minutes.  Pour that over the top.  Add some of your stock, just to cover the bottom of the pan.  Cover the pan with foil, making slashes over the top to allow steam to escape.  Braise for about 2 1/2 to 4 hours, depending on how thick your osso bucco pieces are.  When the meat is fork tender, it’s read.  Check the pan every twenty to thirty minutes, to be sure that there is always liquid, (not just fat) in the bottom of the pan.  Serve with polenta and swiss chard and watch the new episode of GLEE for a laugh.

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