Yesterday, I saw a can of white beans (cannellini) in the pantry, I had some grape cherry tomatoes in the fridge and some lovely broth in the freezer I wanted to use. As I drove to the grocery store, I dismissed making beef stew (boeuf bourguinon,) or pot roast. We had a truly lovely boneless prime rib roast for Christmas Eve and a ham for New Year’s Day.
To my surprise, I found some veal shanks and the label said “osso bucco.” I’ve cooked veal shanks in the length-wise cut but not “osso bucco” although I’d read rapturous descriptions about this dish over the years. When I got home, I looked up a number of recipes for this dish and found that some used white wine while others called for red wine. Some called for lots of stewed tomatoes and others called for tomato paste.
In no recipes did any include bacon (I had a few slices that I’d wanted to use – and the boeuf bourguinon recipes call for bacon in the beginning. Nor did they include white beans which I have used in a braised veal dish awhile ago. So, here’s my version of braised veal shanks which I think will be lovely for our dinner tonight.
- Tie shanks together with twine, salt and pepper them and lightly dust in flour.
- Cut up 3 slices of bacon into small pieces and brown in a heavy enamelled deep braiser pan.
- Add and brown chopped garlic (3); onion (1 small whole) and quarter cut carrots (5) in the same pan. Stir and cook until aromatic and golden brown. Add halved grape tomatoes and rinsed large white beans (canned.)
- Make a well in the middle of the cooked vegetables and add a little olive oil; Place the prepared veal shanks in the center and brown on both sides.
- Add fresh sprigs of rosemary and thyme.
- I sprinkled a little red wine on top of and around the veal bundles; then added Chicken stock until the liquid almost covered most of the contents.
- Place the pot into a 350 degree oven and cook for 2 1/2 hours until veal is fork-tender. Let it rest.
Open up some refrigerator rolls and bake a batch of crescent rolls. Serve the braised veal and vegetables on top of a bed of cooked fresh noodles in shallow pasta bowls. A small tumbler of chilled Riesling seemed just right to drink with the meal – besides that’s what we had opened!