Italian Regional Recipes Secondi Piatti: Meat, Fish, Eggs, Cheese

Ossobuco Alla Milanese – Braised Veal Shanks

Veal shanks are a slightly difficult cut of meat to prepare, because the muscle is really hard and it can become unpleasantly chewy and dry if it’s not cooked long enough. This recipe from Milan, luckily, is the perfect solution to such problem and provides for a very easy preparation and a delicious result.

Already known to be a delicacy in the 18th century, the ossobuco alla milanese (literally “Milan-style braised veal shanks”) is a prized symbol of the Lombard cuisine. It’s typically served with a good Milanese Saffron Risotto, or else with stewed peas, mashed potatoes and even a sweetcorn polenta.

The veal in this recipe can easily be swapped with beef, as long as one keeps in mind that the beef will have a more strong and intense flavour.


Serves: 2 | Preparation time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 30-40 mins

  • Veal shanks: 2 (about 300 g each)
  • Butter, unsalted: 40 g
  • Celery stalks: 1
  • Onion, medium-sized: 1
  • Carrots, medium sized: 1
  • Parsley, fresh: 1 sprig
  • Lemons, medium sized: ½ a lemon
  • White wine, dry: 150 ml
  • Beef stock: 150 ml
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): 2 tablespoons
  • White flour: as needed
  • Salt and pepper: to taste

Method

Finely chop the onion, the parsley, the celery and the carrot. Cut two thin slices of lemon and set them aside, then grate the lemon rind.

Use a pair of kitchen scissors to sever the connection between the outer skin and the nerves, to prevent the meat from curling whilst cooking. Lightly flour the veal shanks on both sides.

Warm up the olive oil in a frying pan; add the butter and once it has melted lightly brown the onion. Fry up the veal shanks on both sides on low heat. Turn up the heat and pour in the wine, leaving it to simmer until it evaporates completely. Add the beef stock, the celery and the carrot, cover the pan with a lid and leave it to cook on medium to low heat for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.

Tip: You can also use a stock cube instead of the liquid beef stock: just put it directly in the frying pan and add a bit of water if necessary.

Add the two slices of lemon, the lemon zest and the parsley, season to taste and cook for another 5 mins. Serve each shank warm, topped with a generous amount of the gravy left in the pan.

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