It’s the coldest week of the year in the city and it’s also the best time to be outside; shopping. Almost stores are nearly empty with rushing shoppers and moving in and around aisles can be such a relief. Same goes for restaurants where queues never end, and for a long time, a relative peace and quiet in a relatively buzzing and unrelentless place. It’s only during this season I can truly cherish the food I love to eat without the tendency of eavesdropping at the conversation over at the next table.
It’s actually during the fall and winter seasons that I clean-up my storage and apartment and see what can be thrown away or donated. This year, however, is a major overhaul. I went through my piles of stuff from almost six years back and it was an enormous junk pile. As I look at each, I see many were bought while I moved in from one location to another when work required me to or I had to move to another residence for a change. All of them were gathered along the way. Some were gifts, and others were from my previous past life that mothballed in time. I was lucky enough to find someone who found real and potential use for all those. It was, in my part, a big sigh of relief and comfort. I suddenly saw so much space from my little haven and knew what I have and what I really badly need to keep myself clutter-free. Removing clutter is one way of moving forward, and I’m all in for that.
It’s also during the winter months that I focus my cooking on heavy broth based dishes. I particularly love to work on the beef or the veal shank and the pork butt to create traditional dishes with my own twist. This particular dish, though, is one of my favourites. I made a very traditional Osso Bucco the first time using white wine. This is another version; a more updated version using tomato puree. It has the same cooking procedure as the Osso Bucco alla Milanese except for the tomato puree or sauce and the gremolata which I omitted upon serving. I concentrated on bringing out the life of the veal shank itself and creating a heavy and smooth sauce from it. Those two were enough to warm me up during cold, below freezing days and nights.
- Veal Shank
- Olive oil
- Shallot, minced
- Garlic, minced
- Thyme or Rosemary
- Tomato Puree or sauce
- Sea Salt
- Ground Black Pepper
- White Balsamic Vinegar
- Beef Stock
- Red Wine
- Flour (for coating)
Season the shank with salt and pepper and coat with flour. Pan-fry both sides until golden brown and set aside.
Sauté the shallots and garlic until aromatic using the same pan. Deglaze with the red wine, add-in the tomato puree followed by the balsamic vinegar, bayleaf, thyme, sea salt and beef stock. Return the shank back into the pot and let it boil to simmer until the shank becomes fork tender.
Carefully lift the shank from the pot and set it on a plate. Strain the sauce into a sauce pan and adjust the consistency and seasonings. Drizzle the sauce over the shank and garnish with Thyme or Rosemary or in my case, chopped green onion.
The usual mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions can replace the garlic and shallots. Again, this mirepoix is common and basic in this side of the world and for the same reason, I would rather use something simpler to adjust to my taste and limited time.
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