Osso Bucco (Braised Veal Shanks)
Osso bucco is an Italian stew of veal shanks, chopped carrots, onion, celery and tomatoes seasoned with a mixture of parsley, garlic and lemon. I love this recipe because it’s trendy comfort food. It needs time to cook but not a lot of attention!
6 veal shanks, osso bucco-cut, 1-1/2 to 2-inches thick
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 large onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 strips lemon peel (approximately 1/2 X 2-inches)
1 (10-oz) can beef broth
Tie each veal shank around circumference with kitchen twine to hold shape while cooking. Combine flour with salt and pepper; dredge veal in seasoned flour. Heat olive oil in large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add veal to skillet in one layer without crowding. Cook until brown, about 5 minutes per side.
While veal is cooking, melt butter in large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrot, celery and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are tender but not brown, about 10 minutes.
Transfer browned veal shanks to vegetable pot. Discard fat from skillet; add white wine, scraping up browned bits. Boil, until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Pour wine over veal and vegetables. Add canned tomatoes, parsley, basil, lemon strips and beef broth (liquid should cover veal). Cover pot, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1-1/2 hours and veal is very tender.
Transfer veal to platter; cover and keep warm. Over medium-high heat, reduce sauce until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Pour sauce over veal and serve. Makes 6 servings.
6 Bosc pears, firm to the touch, with stems on
1 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups red wine (such as Strewn Cabernet Merlot)
Using a vegetable peeler, peel a one-inch strip from the bottom of pear; continue by peeling in strips from the base to the top of the pear. Cut a thin slice from the pear base so it stands upright. Use vegetable peeler to remove pear core from the base, leaving pear whole. Rub pear all over with lemon half. Repeat with remaining pears.
Add water and sugar to medium saucepan; heat over medium until sugar dissolves. Using small sharp knife, remove three strips of rind from orange; add to saucepan. Cut orange in half and squeeze juice into saucepan. Lay pears in liquid; pour red wine over. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil; cover saucepan and reduce heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes, turning pears in liquid every 10 minutes so that all sides become rosy red.
Remove pears from poaching liquid and place in dish. Remove orange strips and discard. Return saucepan to heat and boil liquid for about 20 minutes, until syrupy and reduced to about 1 cup. Remove from heat; pour into sauce boat and set aside.
To serve, slice pears lengthwise from bottom until nearly through the top; fan over ice cream and pour poaching syrup over top. Repeat with remaining pears. Makes 6 servings.
Winter in Niagara means comfort food and harvest vegetables and fruit. Think squash, potatoes, rutabaga, parsnips, apples and pears.
One of my favourite recipes is Roasted Squash Soup with Red Pepper Puree. I like to use buttercup squash for it’s rich taste and small seed pocket but if you can’t find any, butternut squash is a good substitute. St. David’s Produce grows wonderful coloured, hydroponic peppers in their greenhouses near Vineland.
1 buttercup or butternut squash (about 2 lbs)
1 red pepper
1 medium yellow onion
1 head garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 leaves fresh sage
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2-1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Strewn Chardonnay or other dry white wine
Preheat oven to 400F. Cut squash in large chunks and remove seeds. Cut red pepper in half and remove seeds. Cut off root end of onion and cut onion into quarters. Cut slice off head of garlic. Place all vegetables, cut side up, in baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil; cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and place fresh herbs on vegetables. Return to oven and bake uncovered 30 minutes longer; remove and cool at least 10 minutes.
Set aside red pepper and 1/2 garlic head. Scoop flesh from squash into food processor. Remove onion from its skin and add to squash. Squeeze garlic from remaining 1/2 head into food processor. Add herbs, any pan juices and 1/2 cup stock; purée until smooth. Transfer to medium saucepan; stir in remaining stock, black pepper and Chardonnay. Heat soup.
Without cleaning food processor, squeeze remaining garlic, red pepper and lemon juice into it. Purée; set aside in small bowl. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and dollop red pepper purée into middle of each serving. Makes 4 servings.
Wine Match Up
With the soup’s rich taste and texture, the obvious choice of wine to serve is Chardonnay. We suggest the Strewn 1996 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay which is available at the LCBO (just ask for it if it’s not on the shelf). The wine was aged in American oak barrels and underwent a malolactic fermentation, resulting in a smooth, creamy finish with a hint of vanilla and butterscotch. This wine was awarded the trophy as Top Canadian Dry White Wine at the prestigious Selections mondiales competition in Montreal in 1998.