As you can see buying a new camera may make it possible for me to take better pictures but I’m still getting the hang of the technique required to get those pictures and I still have a long way to go on the presentation front. Well I’m always learning so one day perhaps I’ll get that happy moment when I can cook a presentable plate of food and take a good photo of it. Until that day comes you’ll just have to put up with what I can get in the meantime.
I’ve not done much cooking recently as the last few weeks have been pretty hectic in our house. It’s starting to calm down again now and I had time on Sunday to dig out the veal shins I bought at the farmer’s market last month and try a recipe for osso bucco I’d been eying up for a while.
I’ve blogged about Stephane Reynaud before and after expressing my love for Ripailles I was given his latest book – 365 Good Reasons To Sit Down And Eat for my birthday last year. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to try many of the dishes because almost all of them involve large amounts of butter, cream or some other fatty substance. However we are gradually becoming free of that limitation and so to celebrate I finally opened this weighty tome (he doesn’t seem to like writing small books) and selected his recipe for osso bucco.
The first thing I noticed was that the recipe called for a tablespoon of tomato ketchup. Well I put a little squirt in but couldn’t bring myself to add anymore and just put a bigger squeeze of puree into the pot instead. His recipe is also intended to make enough for six people but I was only going portions for two so had to make a few more adjustments to make sure I didn’t have a vat of sauce leftover at the end.
One addition I made was to include celery in the mix at the start. Stephane had chopped onion and sliced carrot in his recipe which in my mind if we’re talking about a base for a sauce it just screams out soffritto. So I swapped one of the sliced carrots for a finely chopped one and added a stick of celery which all got chucked in with the onion to form the soffritto and give a solid base for the sauce.
All the activity and smells coming from the kitchen attracted the attention of a small helper but unfortunately her fluffy paws aren’t much use for handling veg and she couldn’t reach the counter anyway.
After an hour and a half of gently simmering the meat was melting off the bone and the sauce had formed a thick, orange stew. I’m not convinced it’s supposed to be orange but it’s possible I got the balance between carrots and tomatoes a little bit wrong.
Besides the colour the final dish was great. Really soft, succulent meat (with a little bit of gristle left. Perhaps another half an hour on the hob would have made sure all the fat and connective tissue had melted) with the rich, thick (carroty) sauce.
2 veal shins
1 onion – finely chopped
1 carrot – finely chopped
1 carrot – sliced
1 stick celery – finely chopped
Half a bottle of white wine
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon cumin
4 tomatoes – cut two into quarters and two into smaller pieces
2 cloves of garlic – crushed
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley – chopped
Brown the shins in a large pan with some olive oil and leave to one side.
Lower the heat and gently soften the onion, chopped carrot and celery for five minutes.
Add the garlic and continue to cook for a further minute.
Deglaze the pan with the wine and add the tomato puree, cumin, bay leaf, sliced carrot and tomatoes.
Season, stir and bring to the boil before adding the shins back into the pan.
Reduce to a low simmer then cover and cook gently for at least an hour.
Once the meat is falling away from the bone check the seasoning and serve.