Elements of two classic comfort foods combine in satisfying braised veal shanks with white beans.
Don’t get me wrong. I love osso buco. I’ve even made the time-honored Italian dish. But when I recently got my hands on some nice looking veal shanks, I wanted to try something different. Apparently, I’m not alone in that. Nestled among a bazillion osso buco recipes that a quick search for veal shanks recipes brought up was this plaintive cry on Chowhound: “Need veal shank recipe – Not Osso Buco.”
In my head, I traveled the culinary globe off and on for a couple of days. I spent a lot of virtual time in Mexico and Latin America, conjuring up tangy, spicy, chipotle-smoky dishes. Morocco called to me, with cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and golden raisins. In the end, though, I landed right next door to Italy, in France. And the resulting recipe borrowed from classic dishes of both.
For osso buco, veal shanks are braised for a couple of hours, often on the stovetop (for my version, I oven-braised them). This slow cooking makes the mild-flavored meat fork tender and infuses it with the flavors of the braising liquid – aromatics, herbs, wine, and stock. Small wonder this rustic dish is a favorite in Italian restaurants and home kitchens alike.
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