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So the weather has warmed up. And it appears inappropriate to be writing about wintery meals like Osso Bucco when I’m sitting on a balcony overlooking a crowded beach in shorts and a singlet. But I posted the photo of that delightful dish so long ago, and since the blog has been back up and running I’ve busied myself writing about other things. So now that we are on holidays, and everyone has taken to reading/napping/enjoying the view, I thought it best to play catch ups again, and finally write about the dish that attracted so much attention.
It’s a favourite dish at the Two Apothecaries place. I mean winter doesn’t get very harsh in little old Perth, but when you live in the northern coastal suburbs it doesn’t take much for the wind to kick up and cause a howling that leaves you longing for a hearty dish of slow cooked meat and veg. Quite the opposite of our characteristic quick after work stir fry or grilled meat with fresh salad – this takes a ‘little’ pre-planning, but you won’t be sorry you took the time when you do get around to making it.
Slow cooking is a great way of allowing the flavours of a dish to be drawn out and infuse into each other. It also means that meat tenderises beautifully, and cuts and bones that would normally be ‘thrown to the dogs’ can be ustilised. But the really wonderful thing about slow cooking meat with its bones is the nutrients that seep out into the broth which is consumed as part of the dish. In actual fact, these parts, which we commonly discard these days, are the most nutritious part of the animal. The fatty marrow in the bones, the liver, heart, kidneys, sweet meats. It may turn some people off to think about eating it, but once upon a time these were the parts reserved for nobility, for their rich flavours and health benefits. The important organs of the body which no animal can live without. And when you think of it that way, it makes sense we should eat them in preference to the other parts.
As for the creamed silverbeet – yes it has butter, and yes you could use cream as well in fact, but we choose to use cream cheese instead. ‘That’s a lot of fat thought…’ I know some of you are thinking, but in actual fact when you divide it up into serves, it’s not much per person, and it’s necessary for to gain the vitamins from the silverbeet. You see silverbeet, like any leafy green vegetable, is rich in the fabulous Vitamin K – important for its roles in blood clotting, bone mineralisation, and brain tissue repair. Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning that for the body to be able to absorb it effectively, it must be be in the presence of a little fat. So add a little butter to your greens, your body will thank you for it.
Slow Braised Osso Bucco with Creamed Silverbeet
Ingredients Osso Bucco:
800g osso bucco
2 large onions, sliced
4 carrots, cubed
4 celery sticks, sliced
4 potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup red wine
3 cups chicken stock – home made is best, store bought liquid an alternative, try to stay away from the powders with the flavour enhancing numbers on the label
3 tbs tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 sprig rosemary
1 bay leaf
a few small sprigs of thyme
Himalayan salt and cracked pepper
Flour, to toss osso bucco
parsley -to garnish
Ingredients Creamed Silverbeet:
1 bunch silver beet, finely sliced stems and leaves
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup cream cheese – home made again preferable
Himalayan salt and cracked pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180C.
Using scissors cut the thin sheath that surrounds the cuts of osso bucco. This will prevent the meat from curling when cooking and allows it brown evenly to seal the meat. Season with salt and pepper and toss in flour, shaking off any excess. Brown the meat in a large oven proof pot on both sides, then remove and set aside.
Into the same pot add onions, carrots, celery and potatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Turn heat up onto high, add the red wine and reduce it down until only about half of the liquid remains, scraping the bottom of the pot as you go to remove and residual browning bits of floured meat from the bottom. These are good flavoursome bits!
Meanwhile, dissolve the tomato paste and garlic in the chicken stock. Add this liquid mix together with the osso bucco and herbs back into the pot. There should be enough liquid to cover all of the contents. If not add a little more chicken stock.
Bring the contents to the boil for a few minutes, then cover with a lid and place in the preheated oven for 1.5-2 hours, checking on it periodically to ensure the liquid hasn’t boiled away. If the liquid level starts to fall too much, exposing the meat which will dry if this happens, add small amounts of boiled water. The dish is ready when the meat beaks apart when pulled at with a fork.
While the meat dish is slow cooking in the oven prepare the creamed silverbeet, This can be done in advance and reheated when ready to eat.
Melt butter in saucepan. Add to it finely chopped silverbeet, and allow to cook on low heat until the stalks are soft and leaves wilted. The chopped stalks of the silver beet should become beautifully tender when slowly cooked. A fast cook will wilt the greens but may leave the white stalks tough and chewy.
Once tender add the cream cheese and stir through until melted through, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve slow braised meat and vegetables alongside creamed silverbeet, garnish with freshly chopped parsley, and enjoy!
NB – If you’re going low carb omit the potatoes and carrots, but to keep it more classic it’s also lovely served on a bed of cauliflower mash!