Saturday, April 21, 2012

Osso Bucco (The Seduction Dinner)

Okay, Ladies. Listen up.  My mother was right.  The best way to a man's heart is definitely through his stomach.   I speak from experience.   We all need to have, at least,  that one dish that we have perfected. The one dish that we prepare, while waiting  hoping for "the one" who is about to arrive for a the "Grand Seduction" dinner.  Secretly, we hope that he'll be so impressed, that he'll propose- because he's been looking for a woman who can cook as good his mother. It's been many years since I've had to play that role, but I still enjoy seducing my husband's taste buds with something I know that he loves.

Fortunately, my husband is very easy to please.  His favorites are  some of my simplest recipes, like meatloaf, Sloppy Joe's and Roast Chicken.    But, whenever we go out to a "nice" restaurant, and Craig sees "Osso Bucco" on the menu-- I already know that's what he's going to order.

I do enjoy going out to restaurants-- especially since we live so close to Carmel, California.  If you've ever been there, then you know that an Osso Bucco dinner, with appetizer, wine and tip can be very pricey.    In recent years, though, I've grown more fond of making a nice dinner for my Sweetheart, and enjoying a quiet dinner at home.

So, while doing my weekly shopping at Whole Foods, a special on oxtails inspired me to make one of my husband's favorite dishes at home.  By the way, you can easily substitute short ribs or veal shanks for this recipe. They would be just as delicious.

Searing and braising is one of my favorite cooking methods.   The prep work might take up to an hour, but in the end-- I can just sit down and relax while my Dutch Oven turns an inexpensive cut of meat into something that is tender, and has a beautiful sauce.

Flour is seasoned with salt and pepper.  The golden rule for beautifully browned and seared meats is this-- pat the meat bone dry.  Pun intended.

The meat is beautifully seared, and there's lots of brown caramelization on the bottom of the Dutch Oven. We're off to a great start.

Of course, we need chopped veggies to build flavor for the sauce-- carrots, onion and celery.  Saute until soft, just a few minutes.   Add garlic, of course.  Now we need fresh chopped herbs: rosemary and thyme.  Gotta add tomato paste.  It's just the right thing to do-- it gives a depth of flavor that is unsurpassed. Sounds dramatic, but so true.

Now, for the red wine. I love cooking with white, but I'm all about red wine with a tomato paste braising sauce.  I know these things. The red wine deglazes the pot, and loosens up all that beautiful brown stuff that stuck on the bottom. Flavor!

Now, we add beef stock. And bay leaves.  Then we nestles those beautifully browned chunks of meat into the pot.

We cover the Dutch Oven, and place into a 350F preheated oven.  Now wait for 2-1/2 to 3 hours for wonderful things to happen.  That gives you plenty of time to set the table, freshen up and to set the mood for dinner.  Don't forget the music.

To finish the recipe, I remove the bay leaves (of course).  To thicken the sauce, I use about 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch, whisked with about equal water.  It is sloooooooooowly added in, a bit at a time, until it reaches the thickness that I like.

Osso Bucco, in Italian means "Bone with a Hole".  As a garnish, a Gremolata can be served.  I was so tempted to chop the fresh parsley, garlic and lemon zest.  But, I changed my mind.  The sauce tasted so good, that I didn't want to detract from that.  My second dilemna was in deciding what to serve it with-- mashed potatoes? Polenta?  Then, I decided that I wanted to make Risotto.  While searching for information on Osso Bucco, I discovered that a Risotto Milanese was most appropriate.  

The table was set, and Date Night at home was on.  I was so excited as I plated the Risotto, because it not only looked pretty-- it tasted creamy and delicious.

When I plated the Osso Bucco, I was confident that I was going to have one very happy husband. The sauce was one of my personal best.  

TASTING NOTES:   Bingo.  I did it, and not only did the Osso Bucco look as pretty as any we've had in a restaurant--it was fabulous!  I feel as though I accomplished something that my husband truly appreciated.   Both of us marveled at how the meat just came off the bone, with our forks.  The sauce had just the right balance of red wine, the depth of the tomato paste, just the right amount of herbs and seasoning.  The risotto...  I'm so glad that I chose this recipe.  We had a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon that complimented the dish perfectly.  The company was the best part-- just the two of us.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is "the dish" that will be remembered for a long time to come.   This is perfect for a dinner party, too.   

I prepared a serving for my son, and covered it with plastic wrap. The next day, my son reheated it and he raved about it.  He's been hinting that he'd love for me to make both the risotto and Osso Bucco again.   Yes, the way to a man's heart-- even your son's-- just like my mama said....

 I'm linking this post to Stone Gable's "On the Menu Monday".

A printable recipe card for the the Risotto and the Osso Bucco is at the very end of this post.  If you can't view it, click here:

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Thibeault's Table said...

I've never made Osso Bucco with anything but Veal or Lamb Shanks.

But I love, love, love Oxtails so I know I will love your version.

Slice of Southern said...

I thought the Risoto was beautiful, but this osso bucco is killer. I'd love it if you would share this post on my Southern Sundays linky party on Sunday.

Hope to see you there!

Susan said...

I love this posting. I have used veal shank for Osso Bucco, but never even imagined using ox tail. Great idea. I know I love oxtail in a beef soup.

Becki's Whole Life said...

I have never had Osso Bucco and I'm not sure why because this looks mouthwatering. I do short ribs quite a bit and they are my new favorite thing...I bet these would be just as wonderful, esp. over some creamy risotto. Yum. If I didn't already have lambchops for dinner I might be trying this.

What a great deal at WF...they do have decent sales every once in a while.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Consider me seduced. What a fabulous meal and the photos are incredible. I wonder if I can find an ox tail in my market. I would love to try it with them instead of veal shanks for a change.

Chatty Crone said...

Very impressive - it looks beautiful! sandie

Karen said...

One of my favorite meals ever... it looks so rich!

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

OMG! I'm drooling over here. That looks amazing!!!

Mary said...

It looks amazing! Putting this on my list to make!

Rita said...

What a great meal, and so beautifully photographed. Just found your blog , but will be looking forward to the next entry.

Joanne said...

I've already made risotto for the new boyfriend and I think he's pretty much in it to win it now :P I'm sure making this would seal the deal!

Proud Italian Cook said...

That truly is A feast for the Eyes! I'm drooling!

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

Absolutely, this is what my Grandmother told me and she's been proved right time and again! I'm not surprised your dish was a success - it looks simply delicious, I love that you used ox tail.
Mary x

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Cooking for a man has never failed me! You'd have my heart too with this. I don't eat veal anymore, so the oxtails would be up my alley.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

I can't think of a more mouthwatering combination of ingredients, Debby. What a scrumptious and elegant dinner. Everything is perfectly cooked.

Tracey M. said...

Wow! It looks like heaven on a plate. Once I saw the picture, I just had to come over and see how it was done.

Monica H said...

Those last couple photos look amazing Debby. I know my man would love that meal too.

BTW, since PIcnik closed what are you going to use for a photo editing system for collages? I'm bummed :-(

Diane Balch said...

This looks absolutely amazing. A real special meal. Please share this on my foodie friday linky today.

Roz Corieri Paige said...

Our daughter has requested Osso Bucco for Christmas dinner this year and I'm certainly going to strongly refer to your recipe that is currently being printed here! Even the Risotto Milanese is perfect on its own, but hey, why not double the delight!

Anonymous said...

I didn't see how much garlic to use. I like garlic, so I just added a lot. Also, in the post you say to add the bay leaves with the broth, but in the recipe card it says with the other herbs.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you for pointing out my editing errors. It's a challenge, sometimes, because I cook by the seat of my pants. So, trying to reenact how I made it, can lead to recipe writing error. I fixed those mistakes. I hope it turned out to be a success for you.

TracyTerp said...

I made this with veal, and it was absolutely DIVINE! I will definitely make this again!

Debby Foodiewife said...

Thanks, Tracy! So glad you enjoyed it.

Joƫlle Goodwin said...

Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

Osso Buco is one of "those" dishes that my mother made as I grew up and so I have extremely fond memories of it and yours looks delish!

We always served ours on spaghetti - and I remember seeing it on risotto for the first time years ago in a restaurant and thinking... osso buco on risotto?!

But can't wait to try it!