Osso Buco – So Tender Veal Shanks

4.8/5 - (6 votes)

I have long wanted to make Osso Buco. A traditional dish from Italy I was surprised to see a recipe for it in Julia Child’s The French Chef. However that recipe looked very good indeed. So I decided to try it, though with a few small changes. Those changes are really just about the order in which things are done, allowing me to use just one pan to save on cleaning up.

So, as the link above will tell you, Osso Buco originates in the Lombard region of Italy. It is veal shank, with marrowbone, which is cooked with vegetables and a broth or sauce with white wine. In my case I used vermouth as per Julia’s recipe. Apparently the use of the vegetables is a more recent incarnation of Osso Buco, but one that appeals to me.

Although I used veal shanks it is fine to use beef shanks instead. Indeed it is cheaper to buy beef shanks. I am sure the flavour would be just as good.

On the stove top

To start off I prepared the vegetables and and orange and lemon zest. I boiled the zest for a few minute eliminate the bitterness somewhat. Then, using just a single heavy bottomed casserole pan, I fried off carrots and onions. I used one pan for ease.

Setting those to one side I then browned the veal shanks, which I had coated in flour. Setting the meat aside too I deglazed the pan with vermouth before adding in the carrots, onions, zest, tomatoes, garlic and basil. Then I added the meat into the pan and some beef stock.

In the Oven

When that came to a simmering boil I cover the casserole with its’ lid and cooked it in the oven for 75 minutes. The oven temperature was quite moderate at 160C/320F.

When that time was up I removed the meat and reduced the sauce on the stove top until I had about 480ml/2 cups of liquid. Then it was ready to serve with Parmesan Potato Stacks.

Ingredient – volume

For the ingredients I will detail roughly the amount of carrots and onions. I won’t be precise, in this instance, since it isn’t really necessary. The same goes for tomatoes, 4 is the number. But, of course, it rather depends on size.

My Osso Buco

I found the whole recipe a very therapeutic exercise in cooking. The end result was succulent and tender veal shanks in the most delicious broth or sauce. I didn’t thicken my sauce as the recipe didn’t say to do that. However that would be fine too, I am sure.

Served with the pamersan potatoes and some more veg it made such a good dinner. Of course I didn’t eat all that I had prepared. I shared it with my niece and her husband. They reported back that they enjoyed it immensely.

This is one of those recipes that I shall return to time and time again.

Osso Buco – Video

Another great dinner recipe is: Deep Filled Minced Beef Pie.

Osso Buco – So Tender Veal Shanks

Recipe by Julia Child(adapted)Course: Stove top recipesCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 4 veal shanks with bone in (and marrow in), tied around the perimeter

  • 1 small (1/2 cup) carrot, sliced

  • 1 onion(1/2 cup) chopped

  • 4 tomatoes

  • Zest of one orange, cut into thin strips

  • Zest of one lemon, cut into strips

  • 1/2 tbsp finely chopped basil

  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

  • 480ml(2 cups) beef, or chicken, stock

  • 240ml(1 cup) dry vermouth

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 30ml(2 tbps) olive oil, you may need a little more

  • flour for dredging


  • Put the tomatoes into a pan of boiling water for 10 seconds.
  • Remove the tomatoes from the pans and peel off the skins, then take out the top core.
  • Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds and juice, and discard.
  • Chop the tomato flesh into cubes.
  • Place the zests in a pan of boiling water and boil for 5 minutes then drain and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 160C/320F.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large casserole and fry the carrots and onions for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Set the carrot and onion aside.
  • Coat the veal shanks in flour, ensuring full coverage.
  • Brown the veal shanks in the casserole, adding more oil if needed, and set aside.
  • Deglaze the pan by pouring in the vermouth and stirring until anything adhering to the pan is loosened.
  • Add the carrots, onions and stir around.
  • Add the tomatoes, zest, basil and garlic and stir to combine as the liquid simmers.
  • Put the veal shanks back into the pan.
  • Pour in the stock as well and bring it to the boil.
  • Cover the casserole pan with its’ lid and place it in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • When that time is up take it out of the oven and place it back on the stove top.
  • Remove the meat and cover to keep it warm as you boil the liquid in the pan until it is reduced to about 480ml(2 cups).
  • Serve the meat with the vegetable and broth poured over the top.

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