Osso buco is made with cross-cut veal or beef shanks and vegetables. We will share with you a Christmas dinner recipe by our friend George Karagiannis, who is a chef and a prodigious cookbook author. We cooked Osso buco in a clay pot, slowly in the indirect wood-fired oven. The flavor of our final dish was unique. Simple, carefully selected ingredients and a special spice blend will give this Osso buco its rich flavor. Let’s see every step of this recipe that George Karagiannis gave us.
For 2.5 kg (3.3 lb) of cross-cut beef shanks (1.6 inch-thick):
Your first task is to prepare the spice blend. Place the whole spices in a mortar and grind them down to a powder. Bash them well to release their full aroma. Then, add the salt, the rest of the spices, and the herbs - apart from the bay leaves. Place the pieces of beef in a large vessel; arrange them in a single layer. Sprinkle the spice blend with the salt over both sides and set aside while preheating the oven. Remove the stems from the round mushrooms. Take a deep bowl and soak the dried wild mushrooms in water.
Before continuing you need to preheat the indirect wood-fired oven. Place thin pieces of dry hardwood for kindling inside the fire chamber and add thicker pieces of wood on top. Light them up. Before the fire is burnt down to embers, add 1-2 kg of big chunks of charcoal. This step is necessary since we need enough heat to ensure a slow, steady decline in temperature for the next 3 ½ -4 hours until Osso buco is ready.
Before the oven reaches the desired temperature, it’s time to put together Osso buco. Place the wild mushrooms that have been soaking in water in the clay pot and add the stems of the round mushrooms, as well. Dredge beef in flour and place the pieces on top of the mushrooms. Then, add the wine carefully, trying not to wash the flour off. Add enough water, so that the liquid level reaches the surface of the meat without fully covering it. Lastly, cut the butter into pieces and add it along with the bay leaves.
When the oven’s temperature reaches 200⁰C (392⁰F) and the fire has burnt down to embers, place the clay pot in the oven’s upper chamber and cook for approximately 3.5 hours. While the meat is in the oven, light the charcoal grill. Roast the round mushrooms and the Florina peppers on the grilling grate. Remove them from the charcoal grill when they are ready. You will add the mushrooms to the clay pot, at the last stage of the cooking process. You will use the roasted peppers when it’s time to serve the dish.
After three hours, remove the clay pot from the oven. Open the lid and add the roasted mushrooms on top. Close the lid and cook for another 30-45 minutes.
Remove the clay pot from the oven carefully and wait until it cools down a bit. Meanwhile, peel the skin off the peppers. Place them on a large, elongated plate and slice them. Add salt, vinegar, and a little olive oil. Serve a large piece of beef on top, along with the bone. Add the wild mushrooms and the roasted mushrooms, as well. Pour the sauce from the pot over them and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
Fine red wine and good company are a must.
Happy cooking everyone!