Italy is not far from Lebanon; to say that the Lebanese love Italian cuisine is stating the obvious. Osso bucco or lasagne verde was served at sidewalk cafés in Beirut as far back as I remember. The Italian influence was not even limited to food, since even centuries ago Italian architects and decorators were commissioned by local princes and sheikhs to design palaces and mansions.
All of this to say that I could not imagine living without the occasional Italian dish, like osso bucco on a cold winter night.
Found a huge cookbook in my parents’ library, Ada Boni’s Il Talismano de Felicità; well, I was surprised to find that theirs does not call for tomatoes and is simply veal shanks braised in wine and broth and the final stir of flavor is adding chopped parsley, lemon peel, garlic and a bit of anchovy. And plenty of butter.
This recipe has tomato sauce as well as wine and some onion, celery and carrots.
- 4 thick veal shanks (with bones)
- flour, as needed
- oil, as needed (or clarified butter)
- 1 1/2 cup of dry white wine
- 2 cups of chopped tomatoes (peeled and seeded) or tomato sauce (optional)
- 1 cup of chopped onion, carrot and celery
- 1 tbsp of mashed garlic
- 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
- rind of a lemon or orange (or a mixture of both)
- 1 tbsp of anchovy paste (optional)
- Season the veal shanks and dip them in flour; heat some oil and brown the shanks on all sides. Set aside. Fry the onion, celery and carrots till soft. Place the veal shanks back in the pot and pour the white wine, scraping the pot. Let the wine reduce by at least half or entirely and add the optional tomato sauce. Let the stew simmer very gently for at least one hour or longer, until the shanks are tender.
- A few minutes before the end of cooking, add the garlic , parsley, rind of lemon and anchovy and swirl it around to distribute the flavor. Serve the shanks with buttered pasta, a risotto or boiled potatoes.
21 Comments • Comments Feed