Monday, October 18, 2010

Veal Osso Bucco with Vegetable Quinoa

Veal Osso Bucco is a classic Northern Italian classic with that warm and comforty (made up word) felling that is perfect for the fall season. Often it is served with Risotto Milanese but I had some quinoa and though that it would be a healthy and tasty alternative with similar effects. This recipe serves two people and leaves a bunch of quinoa left over for snaking. I have been adding quinoa to the left over fall soup I made in a previous recipe, its awesome!

Veal Osso Buco - 1.5 hours

2 tablespoons pancetta, finely chopped
2 oz vegetable oil
2 veal shanks
1/2 medium yellow onion, rough chop
3 scallions, chopped - reserve green tops for garnish
1 roma tomato, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups stock (veg, chicken or beef) I used chicken stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme, marjoram and oregano (optional)
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of pepper

Turn the oven on to 325. Start a large dutch oven (oven proof pot with lid) or enamel coated cast iron cooking vessel (ie. le crusset) on low heat. Add the pancetta and let that melt and render out the fat, about 10 minutes. Remove the cooked pancetta and reserve it for later. Salt and pepper the veal shanks and coat with a bit of flour. Add the veg oil to the pancetta fat and turn the heat to medium. Add the veal shanks and cook for about 4 minutes on each side or until they get a nice brown on them. Remove them from the pot and set aside. Turn the heat back to low and add the onions, scallions, tomato, garlic and carrots. Let that cook for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Now turn the heat to medium and add the red wine. Let that cook for about 5 minutes. Now add the chicken stock. Cook this for about 10 more minutes. Now trun off the heat. Add the reserved veal shanks to the pot, the liquid should be about half way up the shanks. Top the shanks with the fresh herbs. Cover the pot and place the whole thing in the oven. This whole technique is called braising.

Let that cook in the oven for about 1 hour. Remove and throw away the herbs. Remove the shanks from the pot and set aside. Puree the vegetables and liquid using a stick blender or traditional blender. Add the shanks to the pot and top them with the blended sauce. Cover and put it back it to the oven for 15 more minutes. Remove and serve. This may sound gross to many but the bone marrow (soft material inside the bone) is the best tasting stuff on earth. Don't knock it till you try it.

Vegetable Quinoa - 25 minutes

1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup red bell pepper, fine chop
1/2 cup broccoli florets, pared into very small pieces

Quinoa is a very healthy alternative to rices and grains. It is actually a sprouted seed and therefore has lower carbs and higher protein then traditional starch sides like rice or potatoes. EAT IT! The quinoa must be thoroughly rinsed. I do this by placing the quinoa in a large strainer and running cold water over it while tossing it my hand. You could also soak by placing the strainer and large bowl full of cold water and working the quinoa with your hands.

Place the quinoa, water, stock and salt in a medium sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Once it boils add the chopped bell pepper and broccoli. Cover tightly and turn the heat to low (1 of 10). Let it cook for 15 minutes and then turn off the heat. Let it stand for at least 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. This dish is super easy and is a completely nutritional stand alone meal. There will be plenty of leftovers.

Just scoop out some quinoa on a plate and place a veal shank beside it. Top it with some extra gravy and some sliced scallion tops. This is really not that difficult to make and is a smash hit with most people. Add a glass of some Italian Barbaresco or Chianti Classico and you have a restaurant quality meal for about $30 including wine. Boun Apetito!

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