Monday, February 2, 2009

osso buco

Osso buco is one favorite comfort food. It's one of my favorite to eat and to cook and share with as many people as possible. I always have pictures of me as an Italian senora, merrily chopping, mixing, stirring, in my hillside villa in Tuscany, while my friends and family sit, play and drink in the garden. Yes, it brings out the ilusyunada in me.
With that in mind, I bought close to three kilos of beef shank over the weekend to make one big batch to share with a favorite couple whose prawn lunch I "stole". I always start by dredging the pieces in flour, salt and pepper, and browning them in olive oil. Then I saute onions, celery, carrots and garlic until they're wilted and sweet. Then I pour in a generous amount of red wine to help scrape the bits stuck on the bottom of the pan, and let this simmer. I then put back the browned pieces of shank, dunk in crushed tomatoes, cover this with broth, season, and boil and simmer away. I would pressure cook for 20 minutes, stir, top up with broth and pressure cook for another 20 minutes. If I'm making a really big batch, I would just leave the pot on the stove for a good three hours, stirring so as not to burn the bottom. Right before serving, I add grated lemon zest and an extra squeeze of lemon for a pop of freshness.
I brought remains of my oh so lovingly made osso buco to the office to share with the staff. I served half on spaghetti noodles, while leaving the other half for those who would prefer to eat it with rice. Lovely, glowing reviews from one and all. Until accountant comes over and says, "ms annette, pa'no ka mag-mechado?". I haughtily say, "I don't do mechado". Not quite finished she was and asks, "ano ba 'to? kaldereta?". Haay, in the post-florence world, not everybody shares an understanding of the finer things in life. Brown meat stew is brown meat stew. Reality has a funny way of hitting us on the head and I have only myself to keep my "ilusyons" alive.

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