Friday Night Dinners: Osso Buco and Polenta

I am a big, big supporter of the weather changing to reflect the time of year.

The weather doesn’t seem to be quite so keen on cooperating.

Last time I looked at the calendar, it was March.  March 8th, to be exact.  Which means in two weeks it will be spring.  Spring.  Crocuses and tulips and little tweeting birds in the trees ready to help me with chores.  That’s what the weather should be doing.  But where I live it’s still very cold, windy, and snowy, and Mother Nature only has more in store for us with storm-age this week and another (so I’ve heard) coming up next week.  To which I loudly say ‘boo, hiss’ because I am the worst ever when it comes to dealing with the cold.

Nub and gist: I’m coping poorly.  I also hate cleaning snow off my car.  Hate it.

The unexpected upside of this is that I get to keep making slow-cooked braise-y things; so thank you, I guess, for the extension of the stick-to-your-ribs comfort food season?

I guess?

Maybe?

I’m taking advantage of it anyway, whatever-it-is.  Tonight is another very comfy kind of night in the food department: osso buco with polenta and brussels sprouts.  I don’t know about you, but my mouth’s a little on the watery side thinking about it.

Beef Osso Buco with Brussels Sprouts and Polenta

My dad’s been nagging us for slow-braised beef kind of forever (or like two weeks, who’s counting) and I was all too happy to oblige.  Slow-braised beef is the best.

IMG_0111

The beef, post-browning.

It’s really, really good, anyway.  And really low-maintenance, which is..par for the course this week, apparently.  Once you get the flavors going these shanks just need a loooong time to cook, which means you can set them up and do your own thing for the 2 hours they’ll be tenderizing in those tasty, tasty juices.

Imagine how great these vegetables will be smothered in beefy, beefy gravy.

Imagine how great these vegetables will be smothered in beefy, beefy gravy.

I also got to try my hand at polenta, which I’d actually never made before tonight!  (I know.  What kind of Italian am I.)

My dad's reaction was 'it's WHIPPED!'

My dad’s reaction was ‘it’s WHIPPED!’

I think it’s so weird the things my mom does/doesn’t like that have cornmeal.  Polenta?  Thumbs up, give her another serving.  Corn muffins, with the meal pre-soaked to ensure minimal graniess?  Forever a pass, no matter how delicious I make them.  You’re an odd duck, mamabear.

Confession: I'm not really a left-whisker, I just needed my right hand to take this picture.

Confession: I’m not really a left-whisker, I just needed my right hand to take this picture.

(Despite all the Polenta Fear that cooking shows have instilled in me, this was actually super easy.  I credit this post from Food 52; fear no more, ye with dreams of nice, fluffy polenta.)

osso buco - vegetables

I’m not sure if sprouts were the most obvious choice, at least not in keeping with the Italian theme of the meal.  But whatever, I wanted sprouts.  Roasted sprouts.  Italy will just have to take it as-is.  And hey, the original plan was to add prosciutto to the sprouts.  It’s not my fault it got eaten before I had a chance.

Poor, poor sprouts.  All they want is some prosciutto.

Poor, poor sprouts. All they want is some prosciutto.

And that’s a wrap on dinner!  I’ll refrain from posting the polenta recipe, since you can just snag it from the Food 52 link above, and if those sprouts were any easier I think I’d lose brain cells when I cooked them.  I’ll spill on the osso buco, though, because it was delicious and you know you want it.

AND, for those of you interested in my beer pairings (because why wouldn’t you be) dinner tonight was accompanied by Otter Creek Black IPA.  Very rich, almost stout-y, but with the unmistakable tang of an IPA.  Overall: approve.

It was a dark and tasty night...

It was a dark and tasty night…

Osso Buco
adapted from a Giada de Laurentiis recipe

Ingredients

  • beef or veal shanks
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup flour, for dredging
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • carrots, chopped to 1/2 inch chunks
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped to 1/2 inch chunks
  • onion, chopped to 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Cooking Directions

  1. Blot the shanks with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and thyme. Dredge the shanks in the flour mixture and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the meat; remove and set aside.
  4. Add the vegetables directly into the pan and saute with a pinch of salt until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook 1 minute more.
  5. Return the meat to the pan and add the wine, cooking until reduced. Add the chicken broth and let reduce again, then add the beef broth and rosemary. Bring to a simmer and let cook 1-1 1/2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.
  6. Remove the meat and set aside covered in foil. Mix the cornstarch and water to form a slurry, then whisk into the vegetable-stock mixture until it thickens and a gravy forms. Serve alongside the shanks.
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One thought on “Friday Night Dinners: Osso Buco and Polenta

  1. Pingback: Weeknight Dinners: Chicken Cacciatore | peaches & praline

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