Monday, December 13, 2010

Lamb Osso Buco

Technically, it's not Osso Buco since it is not made with veal shanks, plus it is cooked in the slow cooker since my oven is still on the fritz. However, this is part of my learning curve on how to cook tasty entrées with less expensive cuts of meat. In this case, I used lamb neck bones. I don't remember exactly what I paid the local sheep farmer for them, but somewhere around $2 for this package, which made 3-4 meals for me..

First I diced a large onion (along with a couple of shallots and scallions that needed to get used up). I also diced a large carrot, a rib of celery and 2 small garlic cloves. I set those aside so I could brown the meaty bones first.

After I rinsed the neck bones and slightly dried them, I dusted them with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Usually I just add salt and pepper to the flour.) Then I coated them well in all-purpose flour, and browned them in 2-3 tablespoons of home-rendered lard.

As I browned the meaty bones, I added them to the slow-cooker, and while the sauté pan was still hot, I poured in a cup of white wine, stirred up the browned bits, and set the pan aside to soften the bits that didn't scrape up easily.

In another sauté pan, I heated 2 tablespoons of butter and cooked the onion and carrots over medium heat until the onions were about half translucent.

I added the celery and garlic and cooked the mix until everything was medium-soft. The pan to the right has the wine stirred into the browned bits from the neck bones.

The veggies were put in the slow cooker on top of the browned neck bones, and then I added the wine with the browned bits. Next I added a small can (14.5 oz.) of diced tomatoes, drained, and one cup of chicken broth. Threw in about half a teaspoon each dried rosemary and thyme from my garden... Turned the slow cooker to high heat, cover, and waited for the delicious smalls to waft through the room!

Somehow I didn't get a photo as it all went into the slow cooker. Sorry.

To make it easier to serve and eat, I removed the meaty bone pieces so I could take the meat off and be sure I got all the marrow out of the centers. The meat was falling off the bone, very tender, but not falling away from the bones in the pot due to the intricacies of the bones.

As you can see, there was a lot of meat (right side of plate) from that small amount of neck bones (left side of plate), and it's very flavorful. Unfortunately, the photo above isn't focused even though taken soon after the photo above it. (I didn't download my photos until the meat was placed back in the sauce, and it was too late by then!)

Osso Buco is traditionally garnished with gremolata, which is a dozen or so chopped Italian (flat) parsley sprigs, a clove or two finely minced garlic, and the zest of a lemon. Gremolata also is good on seafood as a garnish.

Traditionally, Osso Buco served with Risotto alla milanese (a risotto made with beef stock, marrow from the veal bones, and cheese... and flavored and colored with saffron), I served mine over buttered wide noodles.

Another successful meal on a small budget!


  1. This looks delicious... I think I can get cabrito neck bones pretty easily/cheaply here.

    How many pounds of neck bones & how long in the slow cooker?

    I love my slow cooker... it's so nice to come in from a hard day's work outside to an already prepared hot meal... =0)

  2. I should have weighed the package of neck bones. Hindsight is grand. :(

    I'd guess close to a pound and a half, and the bone to meat ratio was about 50-50.

    My new slow cooker was a lousy purchase (just cheap); even on low it heats too high. I think I cooked the mixture about 5-6 hours before I took the meat off the bones, but it could vary with each cooker.

    When I can afford a better slow cooker, I'll relegate this one to melting wax for the cheese rounds I plan to make.

  3. Can't wait for that adventure!

    Yeah, I know about that after the fact thing... LOL A guesstimate good enough for me. Thanks. =0)

    I'm out working the tiller today, prepping a new bed for beans & wind shelter. One advantage to La Nina is I'm catching up on some of my fall projects & ideas.

    Hope you're staying warm!

  4. Glad somewhere it's warm enough to be outside in the garden! We are in the midst of winter storms, lots of snow and nasty roads.

  5. We set a new high today, 20º above the norm. Absolutely beautiful, except for the fact that it's December & we should be having storms, too. But you know what they say... make hay while the sun shines!

    We're finally supposed to get something Wednesday... keep your fingers crossed!


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