Anna Tobias, Freelance Chef, London
2 Beef Ossobuco (weighing around 350g)
1 medium red onion, finely sliced
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
2 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and bashed with the flat of a knife
4 tomatoes (use fresh tomatoes if in season, otherwise 4 tomatoes from a tin)
250ml full-bodied red wine
2 heaped tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 165
- Use a heavy casserole that has a lid for this dish. Place the casserole on a medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season the flour and coat the ossobuco lightly in it, tapping off any excess.
- Fry the ossobuco on both sides to a dark caramel colour. Occasionally, the outer layer of connective tissue will seize whilst you colour the meat and cause it to contort to a funny angle. If this happens, take a pair of scissors and make a snip at 2 or 3 points where the meat looks strained or twisted – this should allow it to relax back to its original shape. Set the meat aside once coloured.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the pot, along with the onions and celery and season. Turn the heat down and sweat gently for 5 minutes. Now add the garlic and rosemary and continue sweating for a further 10 minutes.
- During this time, bring a small pot of water to the boil. Make a cross in the bottom of your tomatoes and put them in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Then remove them and plunge into ice-cold water. This should have loosened the skins so that you can now peel them easily. If you are using tinned tomatoes, then ignore this step.
- After the onion, celery etc have had their braising time, add the meat back into the pot along with the bay leaves. Gently nestle in the tomatoes. Pour over the wine and bring to a simmer.
- Cover with some greaseproof paper and put the lid on. Place in the oven.
- After an hour and a half, flip the ossobuco over. Place back in the oven.
- After another hour, check the meat – it wants to pull away from the bone easily. If it doesn’t then place back in the oven and check again in half an hour.
- Once the meat is ready, the sauce should be rich and silky. If it looks a little liquid and thin still, then take the meat out and boil rapidly until you have an unctuous sauce.
If you’re cooking this in spring/summer then I would suggest serving the dish with simply boiled new potatoes and some greens. If it is winter then mashed potatoes or soft polenta would be the thing. Whatever you do, don’t forget to eat the bone marrow!