Monday, April 22, 2013

Semi-Traditional Ossobuco

Our winter has been extra long this year. Over the weekend, there were still snow flakes in the air and it was in the 20's overnight.  So, for Sunday dinner, it did not seem odd to be making a hearty meal like ossobuco (veal shanks).

This is a traditional recipe for Ossobuco, researched by Giuliano Bugialli, in his book Classic Techniques of Italian Cooking.

Ossobuco is a dish using sliced veal shanks, braised in a white wine and tomato sauce, where the center piece of bone with its marrow is considered the pearl in the oyster. 

I took some short cuts (he cuts his own shanks!) and sized the recipe down to serve two.  His version for 6.  You could increase or decrease it depending on the number you are feeding.

It takes a couple of hours to make this dish, so give yourself plenty of time.  I didn't. :) 

(from Giuliano Bugialli)

Serves 6

6 ossibuchi (veal shank cut into 1 1/2 inch slices, bone marrow in center, and tied with string)
1 medium sized red onion
1 medium size carrot
1 celery stalk
1 small piece of lemon peel
2 1/2 cups drained canned imported Italian tomatoes
3 T.  tomato paste
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup olive oil
5 T. sweet butter
salt and freshly ground pepper
About 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 clove garlic, peeled but left whole
About 20 sprigs Italian parsley, leaves only

2 cups rice, preferably Italian Arborio
Coarse grained salt
Scant 1/2 t. saffron, ground

Pass the tomatoes through a food mill and mix with the tomato paste.  (I skipped this step and crushed my tomatoes with a whisk.)

Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery and lemon peel together. (I used a bag of grocery store mirepoix and grated in the lemon.) Heat 1/3 cup olive oil and 2 T. butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  When the butter is completely melted, add the chopped ingredients and saute lightly for about 10 minutes.
(This mixture smells great!!! The lemon peel becomes fragrant.)

Then add the tomato-tomato paste mixture.  (I stirred in the tomato paste first, and cooked it until all of the vegetables were coated, just as I would with a curry, to deepen the flavor. And then I stirred the tomatoes.)
Taste for salt and pepper and simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly flour the ossibuchi on both sides but not on the edges. (I used store-bought shanks and did not tie them.) Heat the remaining oil and butter in a flameproof casserole over medium heat.  When the butter is completely melted, add the meat and saute

until golden brown on both sides (about 3 minutes each side).

Add the wine (carefully!) and let it evaporate over very low heat for about 20 minutes.
Pass all of the ingredients of the saucepan through a food mill (I skipped this step) and pour over the meat.  (I also added some water because my sauce was too thick and not deep enough to come half-way up the sides of the meat for effective braising). 

Add the garlic. (I did this before adding the tomato sauce.)

Cover the casserole and simmer for 40 minutes.   Then turn the ossibuchi on the other side, discard the garlic, and taste for salt and pepper. 

Cover again and simmer for about 35 minutes longer.  Coarsely chop the parsley on a board.

If the ossobuco is to be served accompanied by rice, prepare the rice while the meat is cooking.  Twenty minutes before ossibuchi are ready, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add coarse grained salt to taste and

add the rice

and saffron. 

Stir with a wooden spoon and let the rice cook until al dente (about 16 minutes).  Drain the rice and arrange it on a warm serving dish. 

Place the already cooked ossibuchi on top of the rice, then pour over the remaining sauce from the casserole.  Sprinkle with parsley (I used lots)  and serve immediately. 

Everyone should have a small fork (or spoon) in addition to the normal one in order to eat the marrow, which is considered the choicest  part of the ossobuco. 

We loved the abrorio rice cooked this way. It is lighter (than when made as a risotto) and absorbs the flavors of the sauce, as a pasta would. 


Friday, April 12, 2013

Hot Tamale Soup from Tom

As Barbara has dubbed this week "The Week From Hell", she asked me to offer a recipe for the blog.  But before I do, a little explanation.

Why the week from hell, you ask?  Well first of all I was gone for the first half of the week along with the past weekend as I went to Atlanta for the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament.  That left Barbara to fend with our contractors, who are remodeling our master bathroom along with performing some left over work on our last fall kitchen remodeling project.  Of course this was the week that lots of little details needed answers adding to the stress.  And on top of all of this, our dishwasher decided to end its life by leaking water all over the floor and our kitchen sink drain started doing the same thing.  Needless to say, Barbara's mind was drawn away from the blog.

The good news is that the new kitchen backsplash looks great.  It will show up in some future recipe pictures I am sure.  The water-destroyed flooring is being replaced, and a new Bosch dishwasher arrives next Wednesday.  Our kitchen will be back to normal after that and some real cooking will once again commence.

Fortuitously my mother sent me a recipe that she raved about.  She had earlier contributed the seafood chowder recipe, which we both thought was absolutely terrific.  So, trusting my mother's tastes, I am sharing this recipe with you as she made it.  I have yet to test it, but all of the ingredients are to my liking.  So I am quite confident that this soup is another winner.

Thanks Mom!


Hot Tamale Soup

6 servings

1 pound lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of ground cinnamon
3 cups chicken broth or stock
1 14- to 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juices
12 purchased tamales, approximately 3 ounces each
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Shredded cheddar for serving

Heat a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef, onion, green pepper and garlic and cook until the beef is browned, breaking up the beef with a spoon.  This should take about 4-5 minutes.

Add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and cinnamon and cook for an additional minute.  Add the chicken broth and tomatoes with juices.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the tamales according to the package instructions.

After the chili has simmered its requisite 30 minutes or so, stir in the pinto beans and the corn and heat through, which will take another 3 minutes or so.  Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Line the serving bowls with two tamales each.  Ladle the soup into the bowls and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.

Serve and enjoy!