Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thug Life

I know some of you may be morally opposed to veal, and I get that. You may also be opposed to foie gras, and I get that, too. However, it's not going to stop me from eating it. I'm informed, I'm sensitive, but I'm also hungry and I like what I like. I'm not going to go all Bourdain on you, but I'm going to make this amazing osso buco for lots of reasons, despite the moral issues. I'll enjoy it as much as that killer foie gras hot dog I inhaled, cause I'm just hardcore like that. A food gangster, if you will. Bring it on.

I first made this dish when I was 15. My stepdad, the Goombah, had a copy of this cookbook and his huge extended famiglia was coming to dinner. We decided to team up to make this dish for 20 people. That may not seem like much, but it was a very big deal. See, when I was 15, I hated the world and everyone in it, including myself. I was a selfish, miserable little bitch and I think Ralphy got the worst of it. It makes me teary even thinking about it now. For us to work together to make a dinner was huge, especially since neither of us were very good cooks. It was a lesson in teamwork, compromise, and improvisation. Guerrilla cooking.

We pulled it off. Despite a few issues along the way (we multiplied every ingredient by 4, so I skimmed olive oil out of the pan by the spoonful), dinner was a resounding success, evident from the loosened belts of all the old Italians crowded around the table. It's become my favorite recipe for special occasions since the veal can be pricey, but I've never made it with Ralphy again. My parents are coming for Columbus Day weekend for a visit. I think I just decided the menu.

Veal Osso Buco
adapted from The Mafia Cookbook, by Joe Dogs Iannuzzi

1 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
8 cross cut veal shanks, 1 1/2 inches thick
2 Tbls olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. dry white wine (or apple juice!)
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
3 Tbls. tomato paste
3/4 cup brown gravy (homemade is fab, but buy a jar if you must)
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season flour with salt and pepper and dredge veal shanks, be sure to coat all sides and shake off excess. Heat oil in a large dutch oven on the stove top. Brown veal on all sides, then remove from pot and set aside. Add onion and garlic to post and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add wine and cook for 3-4 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot with a spoon. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and gravy. Bring to a boil and add remaining ingredients. Return veal to the pot, cover and bake for 2 hours and 20 minutes. Remove veal and set aside, covered in foil. Remove bay leaves and discard. Cook sauce over medium high heat for five minutes and pour over veal to serve.

Print the Recipe

This post is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam

 and Tuesday Twister.


April@The 21st Century Housewife said...

I love veal too, but always hesitated to eat it - however now we can get humanely raised veal (non crated) in England. It is called Rose veal here - you might be able to find something similar in the US. (You can also get ethically raised foie gras now too - mainly from Spain - but that is another story - and one I know less about as I really don't like the taste of foie gras!)

Osso Buco is such a classic, comforting recipe - thank you for sharing yours!

Melynda said...

This sounds delicious! I will probably make it with a different cut of meat, cause I am cheap!

wacki04 said...

I've never had veal, but gosh this looks great!!!

Thanks for joining in What's Cooking Wednesday :)

Butterpoweredbike said...

That's too adorable, threatening to go all Bourdain on us :) I'm with you, this is one heck of a tasty dish, one of my favorites. Thank you for linking up with Hearth n' Soul, you food rebel!

girlichef said...

Aw man, I wanna join your crew ;) Seriously...YUM! It looks so tender and melty and delicious! Thanks for sharing it w/ the hns hop this week!

Couscous & Consciousness said...

I love Osso Bucco - one of my favourite meals, and I love your story. Veal is usually pretty hard to get here, but I quite often just make it with beef shank - not quite as good, but pretty darn good all the same.

Christy said...

I have never eaten veal or osso bucco but if given the opportunity I am sure I would! Thanks for sharing this with us at hearth and soul.

a moderate life said...

Jo jo, i am just laughing my head off at your lovely article. Yep, growing up in an ethnic family you can tend towards stereotyping yourselves! hehehe...i am greek, so I know what you are talking about! This osso looks awesome! Thanks for sharing on the hearth and soul hop. Alex@amoderatelife

Ott, A. said...

Looks delish! Thanks for linking up to the Iron Chef Challenge. I hope you'll come back next month.

Anonymous said...

I have made this dish approximately 10 times over the last 6 years, after getting it from my "Mafia Cookbook". It never disappoints, and has met or exceeded virtually every version I have tried in various Las Vegas and S.F. restaurants during my visits...and they heve been quite good. I really should try some other recipies from the book at some point!