Osso Buco, Marsala, Capers & Mixed Vegetables
It's nice to make something that is a little bit indulgent, even if it was a little bit time-consuming and seemed decadent just for lil' ol' me... but there you go! I did it all the same!
Obviously, if you have a larger pot and you have family and friends- you can enjoy this too- and indeed, you are more likely to make this kind of thing as it is a lot more economical to use that stove-time to feed more people- but hey! We singletons deserve to enjoy this kind of dish occasionally too!
It may take time, but it takes very little work, what with everything going into the same pot... or tagine in my case! This is good, simple, old fashioned food that pleases- all of those wonderful flavors and aromas take care of that!
Here are the ingredients for my one-pot feast: 1 slice of veal shank (because that's what it is folks!), 1 carrot, 1 stalk of celery, 1 onion, 9-10 cherry tomatoes, 2 potatoes, fresh rosemary and thyme, a bay leaf, some capers and a good splash of Marsala- or two!
I decided to use Marsala and only the broth created from the vegetables and the meat itself to make this dish, rather than making the usual Barolo and tomato sauce version. I also added capers- the large caper-berries in my version, although the small ones would also be excellent... and these small changes made it into a much more Sicilian affair for me. Which obviously suits me much better anyway!
I began by flouring, and briefly frying the shank in a little olive oil, with plenty of ground pepper. One thing that is worth doing, is making 4-5 cuts through the tough sinew surrounding the shank, as this will otherwise contract as the meat cooks and squeeze it out of shape.
I then added plenty of herbs and flipped the shank over and deglazed the pot with a good splash of Marsala, which I let bubble away until it had practically disappeared- this gets a good base going to make a tasty sauce... you'll see!
And then, in went all of the other ingredients, coarsely chopped, except for the potatoes which I left whole. I added the bay leaf, more salt and pepper and enough water to fill the pot just to the height of the meat.
The good thing is- then it takes care of itself! I reduced the heat to a low simmer and let it sit and bubble away for 1 1/2 hours, checking every half hour of so to add just a little more water as necessary and turning the meat over each time.
By the time the meat is tender and falling off the bone, of course the tomatoes will have cooked away to nothing, but will have combined with the onion, the Marsala, the water and the herbs to create a lovely, light but rich sauce.
For sure this is old-fashioned- but then, so am I when it comes to food and great flavor never goes out of fashion! I much prefer this to dots and squiggles of sauce on my plate- and how!
Oh- and the Barolo that didn't go into the making of this dish? Might be a great accompaniment to it! And once you have had your dessert... a second tipple of Marsala will be a fitting finale! And keeping things "old-school".