Story last updated at 2/19/2014 - 2:31 pm
Ossobuco has long been a dish I have wanted to eat and never did until a few weeks ago at Barolo, an incredible Italian restaurant in Seattle. For my own edification, I had to know exactly what ossobuco was. According to Google definitions, Ossobuco is a "Milanese specialty of cross-cut veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine and broth".
I don't own or manage an Italian restaurant, nor do I see that in my future, giving me access to my new favorite dish. Therefore, I decided to create something in the ossobuco cooking style that is delicious and intrinsically Alaskan: moose ossobuco.
The word osso means "bone" in Italian. Being realistic, it is hard to get a bone-in roast of moose. I used a rump roast, which has no bone but carried the flavor. Moose is very lean meat and requires slow cooking to tenderize it. The ossobuco technique of cooking is low and slow, perfect for this cut of meat.
It's been a while since I've had this much fun creating a recipe. Not only was it something completely new for me, but the simple fact that Grant got meat for dinner (rather than a plate of salad or radishes) made him so happy that I couldn't help but giggle. I think he was concerned we were becoming full vegetarians after my last few recipes. Preparing a meat-based dinner more than sufficed to alleviate his fears. In fact, when I plated the roast, took the pictures and then said he could have some, he ate the whole thing. We're talking nearly two and a half pounds of roast - and let's not forget the risotto. He ate most of that as well. I do believe my captain was hungry.
The key ingredient to this recipe is time. A great bottle of red wine and a good book or movie are great parings. I spent much of Sunday afternoon simmering the roast, reading a great romance novel - don't judge - and enjoying the gentle sway of the boat. Most of all, I enjoyed the incredible aroma of my cooking dinner.
Ossobucco is traditionally made with veal shanks. However, one can use turkey, lamb or other meat if they prefer. I'm thinking next hunting season I'm going to request a caribou or moose shank with the bone in. I'm absolutely certain it will make a perfect ossobuco.
As a side note, buco means hole. This refers to the marrow of the bone, which is incredible flavor. Since I had no bone, I opted to braise the rump roast with a good red wine, which added great flavor.
The steps to cooking this delicious recipe are simple and the ingredients list is not very long. But the flavor is grand and robust. I paired it with a red wine mushroom risotto, which truly completed the dish.
I have never claimed to be a chef, but this night I felt very much like I could be. It was quite satisfying to present Grant with a dinner he said reminded him of a great restaurant in Seattle.
This week, I present a recipe that is easy to make and can be adjusted to the meat of your choosing, enabling you to keep it Alaskan: Moose Ossobuco.
Until next time...
Eat and enjoy,
2-3 pounds moose or other game
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup carrots, diced
½ cup celery, diced
½ cup yellow or white onion, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups red wine
2 cups beef broth
2 stems fresh rosemary
4 stems fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
Pre-heat Dutch oven to medium high heat. Add oil and heat until smoking. Generously season roast with salt and pepper. Season flour with salt and pepper. Dredge roast in flour and carefully place in hot oil. Brown roast on all sides and remove from pot. Add carrots, celery and onions and stir well. Cook for about 2 minutes and add garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook on medium heat until onions soften. Add tomato paste and cook additional 3 minutes until well incorporated.
Place roast back into pan and pour in wine. Bring to good simmer and let cook 20 -30 minutes on low until reduced by 1/3 or so. Add beef broth and herbs. Season with additional salt and pepper. Cover and cook on very low for 1 - ½ hours. Roast will not get fork tender, as it's very, very lean. However, it will tenderize in the wine and should be able to cut easily and stay moist. Do not overcook. Two hours is usually too long for a roast of this size.
Garnish with parsley just before serving.