Osso Buco – Braised Veal (or Pork) Shank

16 Feb

When I was little my dad used to go crazy for Osso Buco, which translates from Italian as bone with a hole in.  I just didn´t “get” it but I enjoyed dipping my bread in the sauce.  My, how times have changed.  I go crazy for it now as my dad did.  Like many dishes, it used to be a poor person´s meal, made from the sliced shank bone of a young (or otherwise) cow.  Of course, it´s now a rather grand restaurant dish and veal is more typically used. It´s not found that often on menus as it is a long, slow cooked recipe. It´s also often made with white wine and no tomato and served with a gremolata.  Naturally, I ignored all this and did it my way!

When I saw in our local supermarket that they were selling sliced pork shank bones, I snapped up two packs (there were four in each) and decided to give making this delicious dish a go.  If you´ve ever cooked oxtail, the process is pretty much the same.  I also found that it was best made a day ahead to allow the flavours to really develop and to also be able to remove any fat from the top of the dish before heating and serving.


  • To serve four people I used two fairly meaty slices of shank per person
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • Four carrots, peeled
  • 2 large sticks of celery cleaned and tough “strings” removed
  • Four fat cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of crushed tomato
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of tomato purée or concentrate
  • ½  a bottle of red wine
  • A bay leaf and about 5 whole peppercorns
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Flour for coating the meat
  • Seasoning

You will also need a deep heavy based (preferably oven proof) dish with a lid

Start by dealing with the vegetables. You can either finely chop or process.  I chose the latter as I wanted the vegetables to cook down to a thick sauce, but the choice is yours.

Season the flour and coat the pieces of meat in it, reserving any that is left over.  Cover the base of your cooking pot with oil and at a high heat, brown the meat on all sides and remove to a plate. Turn the heat down and add all the vegetables, make sure they are coated in oil then put the lid on and let them sweat gently until soft for about 10 minutes. Now stir in up to a heaped tablespoon of any left over flour, cook for a minute or two then add the crushed tomato, the concentrate and the wine.  Bring it up to a bubble and have a little glass of wine while you are waiting.

When it is bubbling away nicely, add the meat back into the pot, season lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the bay leaf and peppercorns.  Cover the pot and either cook very slowly on the hob for about 2-3 hours or in the oven at the lowest setting for about 5 hours.  I prefer to use the oven as there is no chance of anything sticking to the bottom of the pot and I think the longer, slower cooking really does add something to the flavour.

The dish is done when the meat is making only a token gesture to hold on to its delicious centre bone.  Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

This is a real winter warmer dish and is perfect served with mashed or boiled potatoes or plain boiled rice or wet polenta.  Recommend you eat it with a fork and spoon as you won´t need a knife and you won´t want to miss any of that rich sauce. Fingers of course, are obligatory for sucking on the bones.


71 Responses to “Osso Buco – Braised Veal (or Pork) Shank”

  1. cookinginsens February 16, 2012 at 12:42 #

    I love osso buco and your recipe looks perfect!

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 12:46 #

      Thank you so much – it´s such a comforting dish!

  2. Food,Photography & France February 16, 2012 at 12:54 #

    Perfect, warming winter dish

  3. TBM February 16, 2012 at 12:56 #

    Another one that I haven’t tried. You never cease to amaze me.

  4. thecompletecookbook February 16, 2012 at 13:46 #

    I love that you ignored all and did it your way – fabulous meal – so full of flavour and such a wonderfully comforting meal.
    🙂 Mandy

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 16:02 #

      As you may have noticed, I can be quite contrary 😉

  5. Mad Dog February 16, 2012 at 14:20 #

    Lovely – I cooked some last Friday 😉

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 16:02 #

      When do we get to see YOUR version?!

      • Mad Dog February 16, 2012 at 19:37 #

        Here’s my Osso Buco recipe 😉

      • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 20:07 #

        I checked it out and I love it – especially with the addition of anchovy and chilli, very nice indeed!

  6. zestybeandog February 16, 2012 at 14:30 #

    This looks wonderful, I have never done this before but after reading about it here…. I must! My husband would love it!

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 16:02 #

      Let me know if you do give it a go – and I hope you enjoy it!

      • zestybeandog February 16, 2012 at 23:47 #

        Making it tonight 🙂

      • zestybeandog February 17, 2012 at 20:18 #

        I made it with veal, and it was amazing! Thank you for the inspiration! I loved it!

      • Chica Andaluza February 18, 2012 at 09:44 #

        Wonderful – so glad you made it and enjoyed it. And with veal…perfect !

  7. gardenfreshtomatoes February 16, 2012 at 15:41 #

    I’ve never made it, but every local Italian restaurant around here has a version, and it’s one of my favorite winter dishes!
    Looks lovely!

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 16:21 #

      Glad to hear that your local Italian restaurants are making it!

  8. ceciliag February 16, 2012 at 15:44 #

    I agree. Everything tastes better the next day, this must be so tasty, i am a great fan of slow cooking, especially on my woodstove! This is a keeper.. c

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 16:21 #

      Oh yes, cooking on a woodstove adds a little something special!

  9. ChgoJohn February 16, 2012 at 16:36 #

    This is a great recipe, Tanya, one that I’ll definitely try. I agree that it is better served the next day, once the fat has been removed and the flavors really meld together. For me, though, having to smell that aroma coming from my oven all afternoon, only to store the food overnight, is torturous. Nothing I have for dinner that evening will taste nearly as good as what I’ve got stored away for the following day. It’s Foodie Hell.

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 17:48 #

      I agree – the house is full of wonderful smells but I guess the anticipation is part of the pleasure!

  10. spicegirlfla February 16, 2012 at 16:47 #

    Tanya, this looks sooo good!! omg, I hope I can find some good shank over the weekend as this is going to be my Sunday dinner…and even better the next day!

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 17:49 #

      I like any left over sauce with pasta…and plenty of freshly grated parmesan!

  11. Just A Smidgen February 16, 2012 at 16:49 #

    Osso Buco is just the ultimate gourmet, special meal to make for friends at a dinner party. It’s been swirling around in my mind for some time.. I think now I feel brave enough to try.. but, as John says, it would be “Food Hell” not to serve it right away!! xo Smidge

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 17:49 #

      You have to steel yourself to ignore it for 24 hours! It will be worth it, I promise 🙂

      • Just A Smidgen February 16, 2012 at 18:01 #

        I’ll do my best.. my husband?? That would be a challenge!!

  12. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide February 16, 2012 at 18:24 #

    Great recipe. I’ve tried it with the tomatoes and with the gremalota. I have to say it’s all good to me, and not in that bad 90s slang way. It’s all about the meat. Oh, I have to make this again!

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 20:08 #

      I saw your recipes and they look great – it´s a good dish to “play” with!

  13. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide February 16, 2012 at 18:24 #

    Also, I agree. When did it get so pricey at restaurants!

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 20:08 #

      I know, what´s that all about?! I guess in the same way they now charge more for things like offal too – it´s become trendy.

  14. delicio8 February 16, 2012 at 19:44 #

    Oh I’ve been wanting to try this with oxtail but never have the nerve. I recently saw oxtail in a local market so I guess I better just take the leap!

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 20:11 #

      If you enjoy eating things with your fingers, this is great as you get to the end as you lick off all the sauce!

  15. Charles February 16, 2012 at 20:07 #

    Haha, I never knew it meant “bone with a hole in it” – I’ve actually never had Osso Buco before, though always wanted to try. It looks like a really warming, satisfying meal – I love the idea of it being so tender you can just eat it with a fork alone too!

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 20:11 #

      Funny eh, but true! Can highly recommend it, but oxtail is a good replacement if you can´t get shanks. Meltingly tender and I can recommend fingers as well as forks!

  16. Malou February 16, 2012 at 20:32 #

    Hmmmm…just the recipe that I’ve been looking for. I love beef shanks especially after it has slowly cooked for hours. In the Philippines, we make a soup out of the beef shanks which just consists of boiling for hours with very basic spices.

    This is perfect this weekend and I will need a lot of rice to go with it. Yummy!

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 22:31 #

      Sounds good to me – anything slow cooked generally makes magic!

  17. Megan February 16, 2012 at 20:57 #

    I had an amazing Osso Buco in San Diego – and have wanted to try making it ever since. I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  18. Lena February 16, 2012 at 21:32 #

    I am learning a lot here 🙂

  19. chaiselongue1 February 16, 2012 at 21:57 #

    This looks wonderful and it’s a great idea to add tomato. I’m home now and can’t wait to try this!

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 22:33 #

      Welcome back! How could I not use tomatoes – a neighbour with a glasshouse already has some gorgeous ones growing and I am on my last few jars from last summer 😦

  20. bitsandbreadcrumbs February 16, 2012 at 22:43 #

    This looks so good and though I’ve had it and loved it, I’ve never made it. I’ve also had leftover sauce on pasta which as you said, is delicious and even more so with Parmesan. I’m going to have to try this!

    • Chica Andaluza February 16, 2012 at 22:54 #

      Can recommend making it – it´s actually pretty straightforward and once you´ve done the prep, you can forget about it. Well…apart from the wonderful smells that will fill your kitchen 😉

  21. Calico Stretch February 16, 2012 at 23:58 #

    Righto, so where’s winter? Um, not here yet, southern hemisphere laggards that we are (!) and this is on the list to make when the days get shorter ….

    • Chica Andaluza February 17, 2012 at 12:27 #

      You´ve got a way to go yet, but when it does arrive, I think you´ll enjoy this!

  22. sportsglutton February 17, 2012 at 04:17 #

    I haven’t had osso buco in a few month and my gluttonous side is begging for some after reading your post. 🙂

  23. kathryningrid February 17, 2012 at 07:01 #

    Oh, yummy yummmmmy yum! I love braised shanks that fall apart in their rich red-wine bath. I’ll keep this recipe handy for sure. Reminds me of a gorgeous braised lamb shank in a lovely Roehampton bistro . . . sigh . . . 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza February 17, 2012 at 13:07 #

      Rich red wine bath – sounds lovely doesn´t it! And is that Roehampton in the UK or another country? Roehampton in South London is not so far from my parents!

      • kathryningrid February 19, 2012 at 15:27 #

        Yes, *that* Roehampton. R was doing a graduate conducting or choral literature workshop at the school there a few years ago for a friend and she took us and his co-clinician Bob Chilcott to that wonderful eatery. Still dream of that rosemary-wine cooked shank served on buttery mash. Ohmmmmm!

      • Chica Andaluza February 19, 2012 at 20:29 #

        How wonderful, you lucky thing!

  24. Tandy February 17, 2012 at 08:41 #

    *wipes drool off keyboard* YUM!

  25. Christine Hamaty-Hughes February 17, 2012 at 09:13 #

    I have never had Osso Buco before, and would love to try it. This looks divine! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Chica Andaluza February 17, 2012 at 12:24 #

      You´re welcome, do hope you give it a go one day, it´s so tasty!

  26. Bluejellybeans February 17, 2012 at 14:17 #

    ¡Qué rico!
    La verdad es que nunca he comido osso buco… supongo que ya va siendo hora… 😉

  27. Michi February 17, 2012 at 15:17 #

    Mmmmmm, I love dishes where you can soak up the sauce with bread. My favorite. 🙂

  28. Karen February 17, 2012 at 17:36 #

    I’m definitely going to try your pork version. I am like you and your Dad…I love ossobuco.

    • Chica Andaluza February 17, 2012 at 18:11 #

      I think it´s more economical than veal, but the taste is soooo good!

  29. rsmacaalay February 19, 2012 at 08:37 #

    I love mine with gremolata, but your version looks awesome too!

    • Chica Andaluza February 19, 2012 at 10:45 #

      Think I´ll do that next time, I was eager to eat and didn´t get round to making it!

  30. PendleStitches February 19, 2012 at 21:23 #

    Another dish I’ve never tried. Which is bizarre because this kind of slow cooked deliciousness is my idea of perfection. I vote for mashed potatoes to go with it! Lots of hot cream and butter mixed in. Hang the diet!

    • Chica Andaluza February 20, 2012 at 08:43 #

      I agree with your vote, and yes, plenty of cream and butter in those potatoes!

  31. danbalva February 20, 2012 at 23:50 #

    Even though I just recently began reading your blog, I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the 7 x 7 Link Award, and that I’ll be following your blog much more often now! It is much deserved!! Congratulations, and great post by the way! I really enjoyed the background story on the dish 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza February 21, 2012 at 09:27 #

      Thank you so very much – that´s very kind of you!


  1. Bone Marrow | Mad Dog TV Dinners - February 18, 2012

    […] with the theme and bought some bones to roast in order to eat the marrow on toast. Having seen Chica Andaluza’s Osso Buco post yesterday, I’m beginning to think that bone marrow could be the new food thing! marrow […]

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