Slow cooker osso bucco

Osso bucco

Osso bucco is one of the many things I’ve been meaning to make for ages, and I finally got round to making it after buying some veal shanks (labelled as osso bucco) in the yellow sticker reduced section of Sainsbury’s before Christmas. I stashed them in the freezer (as I do with most of my yellow sticker purchases) and thought I’d cook them this week as part of my quest to empty the freezer.*

I used the ‘Bruno’s osso bucco’ recipe from the Leon Naturally Fast Food book as a guide, but essentially made it in the same way I would instinctively make a casserole. You could dust the meat with flour before browning it, but I added flour later instead (as I normally do). I also forgot to add a stock cube, but it was fine without – and I probably wouldn’t bother next time.

Osso bucco is traditionally served with saffron risotto and gremolata. However, I decided to keep it truly one-pot by chucking in some pearl barley. Not authentic, but tasty nonetheless. I did have the ingredients for gremolata, but completely forgot to make it. Never mind!

*Our usual plan is to use up enough of our frozen food so that when it snows (which it inevitably does), we can put any remaining food in a cool box on the balcony and defrost the freezer. This worked last year, but we’re forecast snow this weekend and we’re nowhere near eating everything in the freezer…

Ingredients

  • 2 rose veal shanks (sometimes sold as osso bucco) or 2 slices of beef shin
  • Olive oil
  • An onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 sticks of celery, washed and finely chopped
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • A tablespoonful of flour
  • A generous glug of white wine
  • A tin of chopped tomatoes
  • A large carrot, scrubbed or peeled and cut into small chunks
  • A teaspoonful of dried sage
  • A teaspoonful of dried oregano
  • A sprinkling of pearl barley (equivalent to a couple of tablespoons full)

Osso bucco

Heat up a deep, wide pan and brown the meat on both sides. Remove and set aside. Add a small amount of oil to the pan and fry the onions and celery, adding the sea salt to draw out the moisture and stop them catching. Once the onions start to turn translucent, add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes. Add the flour and stir in until it’s coated with oil. Turn up the heat and add the wine, stirring everything together.

Turn off the heat and add the chopped tomatoes (I whizzed them first in a food processor because that’s what I do) along with the carrot, herbs and pearl barley.

Put the contents of the pan into a slow cooker and add the meat, making sure it’s submerged. Cook on low for at least 6 hours. The meat should fall away from the bone during cooking so you can easily discard the bones before serving.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, I’d suggest putting this in a low-ish oven for a couple of hours, so that the meat becomes tender and the bone marrow leaches out into the sauce.

Serves 2.

Osso bucco

Bean and chorizo stew

In the words of House Stark: “Winter is Coming”. This is my favourite time of year- I know it’s a bit sad when the nights begin to draw in earlier each day, and getting out of bed for work when it’s cold and dark is a pain in the arse. However, I like getting all cosy at home in a big jumper and eating something suitably stodgy. We’re also at that nice stage at the moment where the weather hasn’t turned properly cold yet and the autumn sun is making everything look lovely (listen to me- what an old romantic I am).

Autumn cooking is my kind of cooking- oozy risottos, chutneys and jellies made from foraged ingredients or gluts of fruit shared by friends and colleagues, warming curries and comforting casseroles and stews. I’ve been enjoying all the autumnal blog posts that have been popping up in my feed recently- lots of pumpkin and squash recipes and good hearty dishes to stick to the ribs.

My slow cooker tends to see a lot more action over the autumn and winter months, and this is one of my favourite slow cooker recipes. It’s cheap, nutritious and tasty. This recipe serves four (or two with some portions left over for the freezer or for lunch the next day).

Ingredients

  • About 125g chorizo, cut into small half moons/ chunks
  • About 250g of mixed dried beans (I usually use a mixture of red kidney, cannellini, haricot, black turtle, pinto, adzuki and mung beans and chickpeas)
  • An onion, halved and chopped into half moons
  • 2 sticks of celery, washed and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoonful flour
  • A generous glug of red wine
  • A tin of chopped tomatoes
  • About a tablespoonful of thyme (use fresh if you happen to have some, but dried is fine)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 vegetable stock cube, crumbled
  • 200ml water
  • A couple of heaped tablespooonfuls of pearl barley
  • A carrot, scrubbed or peeled and then diced

Soak the dried beans overnight or for at least 8 hours in plenty of water with a bit of bicarbonate of soda added to it. When they’re soaked, drain them well and add to a pan with enough water to cover. Bring them to the boil, then let them simmer with the lid on for 10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside. (Don’t be tempted to miss out this step- The beans need to be soaked and boiled in order to get rid of toxins in their skins that can apparently cause severe stomach cramps.)

Add the chorizo, onion and celery to a pan and fry until the onion is looking translucent but not brown. Some fat should come out of the chorizo but add a bit of olive oil if the onion and celery need it to fry in. Add the garlic and fry for a minute or so. Add the flour and mix in until all the flour is coated with oil. Turn up the heat, add the red wine and simmer for a minute or so, stirring to mix everything together. Mix in the chopped tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, stock cube and water, then add the drained beans, pearl barley and carrot.

Put the whole lot into a slow cooker and cook on high for about 4-6 hours, adding water if it looks dry.

Eat with some nice crusty bread for dippage.

For the vegetarian version, leave out the chorizo and add a teaspoon of smoked paprika instead.