Osso Buco with Beef Shanks
I love classic osso buco (AW-soh BOO-koh) made with veal shanks that are braised in wine, stock and a whole bunch of vegetable ingredients. Some home cooks are not thrilled with using veal as an ingredient, others may find veal shanks too expensive so I thought I would give beef shanks a try and see if it made a difference.
Bottom line – it did. The meal was good, not great.
I made some changes to my Osso Buco recipe on my web site. Besides substituting beef for veal, I took some short cuts to make the recipe faster to prep and easier to make at home but I don’t think that’s what affected the final outcome of the dish.
The beef shanks are just not as flavorful or tender as the veal shanks. Now maybe I didn’t cook the beef shanks as long as they needed to be cooked, but after two hours, they were a little dry and didn’t fall off the bone like veal shanks do.
The sauce resulting from braising the meat in the wine and stock with all those vegetables is still incredible. I can’t wait to serve the leftovers on some wide pasta noodles with all that wonderful sauce.
We served the osso buco with delicious baby Yukon Gold mashed potatoes my wife expertly prepared and a spring mix salad with her favorite commercial dressing.
Some of the changes I made for this recipe work perfectly well with the classic veal shank osso buco. For example, I think substituting beef/brown stock for chicken stock gives the dish a richer flavor. I also don’t have any problem with using canned diced tomatoes for the fresh tomato pulp.
The original recipe calls for 6 veal shanks but the package of beef shanks contained only 4 and were so much bigger than veal shanks that I thought it would be enough. If you are cooking this for a dinner party, the number you use depends on the number of your guests. You want to serve one per person for the presentation.