A Butcher’s Monthly Recipe from Connor Valone, Deli Specialty Foods Supervisor
Never has a single cooking endeavor elicited so many moans and exclamations of joy from me, much to the chagrin of my upstairs neighbor, I’m sure. A tremendous depth of flavor was amply provided by Dolcetto wine and rich, marbled beef. I was really happy with this recipe, as the process of searing, simmering, and gentle stovetop braising was nearly foolproof. The a-ha moment, ultimately, was the veritably sultry mass of aromatic steam, thick with hundreds of years of Piedmont tradition and flavor. Not to beat a dead horse, but the quality of Marrow’s meat, in this case some gorgeous grass-fed beef shanks, really was the star of the show here; deep, deep flavor and color, mineral-rich, and not at all gamey, just rich and succulent. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle was cooking up a hot pot of polenta, which I accomplished during the last hour of braising. I used the coarsely ground Marino polenta we sell at the Deli, stirring and bubbling for about 60 minutes, and finishing with generous shreds of Piave, a cultured butter. After spooning out the braised shanks and plopping them into warmed bows of steaming polenta, my wife and I raised a toast with the marrow bones I plucked from the pot to begin our meal, which set the tone for how rich the dish was. An acid-driven natural wine, like the Dolcetto I used to cook with (and finished during dinner), or a Barolo is a classic choice for a wine pairing. With my mind still very much back in that bowl of osso buco and polenta, I plan on heading to Marrow soon to get more of these shanks sourced from McElroy Farms to repeat this dish again at least once more this year. 2022 is off to a terrific start.
If you have any questions about this recipe or the Butcher’s Monthly box, let me know!
- 1 Bouquet Garni with kitchen twine, tie together 2 bay leaves, 1 tbsp fresh basil, 1 tbsp fresh parsley, 1 tsp fresh thyme, and 1 tsp fresh rosemary. Make sure you wrap the twine very well around the entire length of the herbs to ensure that none escape during the braise. You may also want to use some cheesecloth for the bouquet garni. (If you don’t want to do the work, I love the ones we sell at the Deli; premium dry herbs that have already been tied together neatly for you.
- 1 package Marrow Fresh Beef Shanks
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 2 large carrots chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 16 oz crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp good tomato paste estratto is preferred
- 2-3 cups good beef broth if you have brodo from Marrow, you'll want to use that!
- 3/4 cup medium-dry Italian red wine I like Dolcetto and Barolo, personally. Only cook with wine from which you’ll enjoy drinking the rest of the bottle while cooking.
- 1/4 cup Ttantta wine vinegar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil or tallow for cooking
- Remove the beef shanks from their wrappings, pat gently with paper towel to remove any excess moisture, and let come to room temperature for a half hour on a plate.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, preferably a dutch oven, place two tablespoons of beef tallow or olive oil, and bring to medium-high heat.
- Season the beef shanks with your salt and pepper on both sides, tie gently around the outside to ensure the pieces don’t entirely fall apart, and dredge in the four.
- Lay in your shanks in the pot after the pan begins sizzling and smoking, brown well on both sides, and remove from the pot onto a clean plate.
- Turn the heat down to medium, and place the carrots, onion, and celery in the pot and season with more salt, while sauteing for about 10 minutes until vegetables are soft.
- Add the tomato paste, and incorporate well for a few more minutes while the raw tomato flavor cooks out.
- Add the beef shanks back to the pot with the wine and vinegar, and cook while stirring gently for a few more minutes to cook off the alcohol.
- Next, raise the temperature to high while adding two cups of your beef broth and the bouquet garni.
- Bring to a high simmer, and reduce the heat to low, and gently cook for 90-120 minutes as the meat begins to tenderize and fall off the bone. Be sure to check on the meat every 15-30 minutes, and occasionally rotate the shanks to ensure they braise evenly, and add a half cup of stock at a time as needed to ensure the shanks are always at least ⅔ of the covered with liquid.
- When finished cooking, remove the bouquet garni, and compost the herbs. Then, carefully remove the shanks from the pot, and cut off their twine.
- Plate up the osso buco with a bit of the drippings poured on top, serve with warm polenta, and garnish with a spoonful of gremolata. Enjoy!