Our Last Meal of Winter

A Californian in Paris rejoices for spring.

Spring has officially started, but it’s still a moody grey here. However, we’ve noticed the ambience in Paris is a little more cheery, the sun shines brightly on some days, and we’re all getting ready for warmer weather. I’m starting to believe my mood is really affected by the very grey Parisian days. One day, Petit Copain and I would like to move south to where it’s warmer and brighter. But for now, I will have to embrace the cloudy days and probably buy a light therapy lamp. Well, not probably. That darn lamp is on my official to-do list. If you have any recommendations, let me know!

As for our first apartment, it’s still in the works. Our kitchen is great, but since we still have grey days, I don’t have much natural light for my photos. I’m working on creating makeshift studio light… but getting all the materials is an adventure in itself. If you’ve ever been to one of the bricolage stores in Paris, you’ll know it’s definitely a vocabulary lesson, even for those who have mastered French.

Everything takes a long time in France. From ordering your washing machine (5 weeks) to waiting for your doctor’s secretary to call you back (1 month and going). While it’s crazy frustrating, you learn to live with it here. The key to living in France is having a lot of patience. Despite the lackadaisical customer service, I love my life here and I especially love it with Petit Copain. For Christmas, he gave me a beautiful diamond promise ring. It is a simple ring (just like I wanted) that I put on my middle finger. Things are going very well in our cute Parisian apartment. Many have asked me if my ring is an engagement ring… well, not yet! But this is a surprise I will happily wait for.

We’ve been eating well now that we’re in a private space together. And now I present to you, Petit Copain’s newest favorite, Osso Bucco.

A Californian in Paris cooks Osso Bucco.

I usually don’t care for recipes that take longer than 1 hour to cook. However, I wanted to test my limits after staring longingly at this cut of meat at the farmer’s market. Osso Bucco is a traditional Italian dish made with veal shanks. It takes about 4.5-5 hours to cook. Before you get scared, preparation is about 45 minutes to 1 hr. So technically the hardest part is just waiting for this delicious dish to be finished.

A Californian in Paris is obsessed with her Le Creuset.

Another gift that Petit Copain bestowed to me is my beloved Le Creuset pot. I was so torn between Le Creuset and Staub, but ultimately picked Le Creuset. My mom loves this brand as well. It’s durable, long lasting, and gorgeously made. My Le Creuset was on sale during the soldes and we got it at a very good price (at least 120 euros off). I will have to write a post about how to shop the soldes. You must know I love a good deal.

vegetables-osso-bucco

A Californian in Paris cooks Osso Bucco.

My recipe is not so traditional. I’ve mostly based it off this recipe from the lovely blog, Taste of Divine. Please visit the blog and look at other great recipes you may want to try 🙂

A Californian in Paris makes Osso Bucco.

There are three things you must pay attention to when cooking this recipe. For the veal shanks, you’ll want to get ones with the most marrow. This will give your sauce great flavor. The trick is stuffing all the meat into your pot because you are a greedy glutton (or Petit Copain will eat it all). Secondly, you must watch how much salt goes into the recipe. Since it’s simmering into a thick sauce for 4 hours, you don’t want your salt to be overly concentrated. Also, you must decide what kind of texture you’d like with the vegetables. I tried completely dicing everything, but hated the texture. Instead, I’ve made the carrots and onions more chunky. Also, I discovered that I didn’t like the celery… but I’ve added it here for you to decide if you want to add it or not.

veggies-pot-osso-bucco

Spring calls for lighter foods, but who cares? One last big pot of simmering sauce and chunky meat just for you.

sautee-osso-bucco

The recipe makes the whole entire apartment smell like heaven. Petit Copain will repeatedly ask when it will be ready. I ask the same question but only I get the pleasure of tasting the dish as it slowly cooks down, checking the flavors.

pot-osso-bucco

Just look at this. Don’t you want to press forward a few hours and eat this RIGHT NOW?

osso-bucco-final

And here is the final product, 4+ hours later… SO GOOD.

Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco usually calls for covering the meat in flour or using white wine. I didn’t like any of those options, but you may want to try those out. I found dry red wine to be the tastiest.

Ingredients

  • 3 veal shanks (pick the ones with the most marrow)
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 bouquet garni (fresh thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf)
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 cups of dry red wine (try something from Bordeaux or Bourgogne)
  • 3 large tbsps of tomato paste
  • 4 cups of low-sodium beef stock
  • 1 cup canned plum tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped (optional)

 

Directions

  1. Pat the meat dry and bring to room temperature. Lightly season the meat with salt and pepper. Make sure to especially rub the bone and marrow. Do not oversalt.
  2. Place fresh herbs into a cheesecloth and tie with twine. As you can tell in my pictures, I did not do this. I highly recommend this step, as boiled thyme stalks aren’t tasty.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large dutch oven. Get that pot very hot. Sear the meat, 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove from pot. Lower temperature to medium heat.
  4. Using the same pot, add an extra tbsp of olive and put in the chopped carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Sautée until softened, about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add in the wine. Cook until wine reduces, half-way. This evaporates very quickly, so be sure control your heat. At this stage, you can always add in more wine as needed.
  6. Put in your tomato paste and stir.
  7. Return the meat to the dutch oven. Add in the bouquet garni. Then pour in your beef stock, making sure to almost cover the meat with liquid.
  8. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover your pot, leaving a slight crack for some steam to escape.
  9. Simmer for 4-5 hours, until the meat falls off the bone. Once ready, uncover the pot and let simmer for another 15 minutes. The sauce should thicken more. Season as necessary.
  10. Serve with gremolata or some chopped up fresh parsley.

 

I hope you enjoyed the post. À bientôt!

 

 

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