Christmas Osso Buco

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January 4, 2015 by Lisa

IMG_5440Lisa’s Christmas Osso Buco

Makes 4 servings, can be multiplied

I always make an enormous amount of this for Christmas, usually 20 pieces of veal. It’s perfect for a big holiday, because you can make it a couple of days in advance and simply stick it in the oven for a couple of hours to reheat.
If you double or triple the recipe, you can double or triple the sauce. I never make more than triple the sauce, even with more meat, because it’s just too much.

This is also a great recipe to make extra for future meals. We freeze the leftovers in smaller containers, and use the pureed sauce for pasta.

If you’re making a big batch, pull out your food processor with a slicing blade to cut up the vegetables. You don’t need them to be cut evenly, since you’ll be whizzing up everything in the end.

I also don’t tie the meat to keep each in one piece. I find not everyone wants a whole piece, and this allows people to take as much as they like.


  • 2 cups veal demiglace (D’artagnan is a good prepared brand)
  • 4 (1-lb) meaty cross-cut veal shanks – you probably have to order this – I rely on the kindness of a local chef to order it wholesale
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups dry red wine
  • 1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf (preferably fresh)

Crusty bread for serving


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F.

Bring demiglace to a simmer in a saucepan over moderate heat. Remove from heat and keep warm, partially covered.

Pat shanks dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dredge shanks in flour to coat, shaking off excess. Heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart wide heavy ovenproof pot over moderately high heat until just smoking, then brown shanks on all sides, about 10 minutes total, and transfer with tongs to a plate. Add butter to pot and heat until foam subsides, then sauté onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 9 minutes.

Add wine, scraping up any brown bits, then add warm demiglace, tomatoes, and bay leaf. Return shanks (with any juices accumulated on plate) to pot and bring liquid to a boil, then cover pot and braise shanks in oven until meat is very tender, about 2½ – 3 hours.

[If you’re making this ahead, stop here, cool completely and store in the refrigerator for a day or so in the cooking pan.]

Carefully transfer shanks with a slotted spoon to a clean plate and keep warm, loosely covered with foil.

Remove bay leaf from sauce. Using a stick blender, puree the sauce. You can also do this in a regular blender, but be really careful transferring the hot liquid. Don’t fill the pitcher all the way and allow a gap between the lid and pitcher so the steam doesn’t cause everything to explode up to your ceiling. On second thought, if you don’t have a stick blender, go get yourself one right now. It will change your life and make cooking a whole lot safer & easier.

Reheat the sauce if necessary, taste for seasoning and serve over and alongside the meat.

If you’re making it ahead, take out an hour before heating to allow it to come to room temperature. Reheat at 350° for 1 – 2 hours, depending upon how much you’ve made. Follow above instructions to whiz up the sauce (you did buy the stick blender, didn’t you?) Enjoy!

Final note: dogs love this recipe too, especially if you give them the cooled bones to gnaw on and/or spoon a little sauce over their food.

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