How to Make Veal Osso Buco

Two Methods:Making an Easy Veal Osso BucoTaking Your Dish to the Next Level

One of the classic Italian dishes, veal osso buco originated near Milan, which still makes the most world-famous versions. But savory, tender, to-die-for veal is within the reach of any home chef, and it is a great recipe to learn the oft-neglected (but very simple) culinary art of "braising."


Servings: 4

  • 4 large veal shanks
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken, vegetable, or beef stock
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup red wine (a dry white wine may be used instead)
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1-2 bay leafs.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method 1
Making an Easy Veal Osso Buco

  1. 1
    Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Veal osso buco is a braised dish, meaning it is cooked over direct heat (stovetop) and then slowly finished by cooking in a liquid bath (oven), keeping the meat tender. While you'll start the dish on the stovetop, you want the oven to be ready for you.[1]
  2. 2
    Season your veal shanks with salt and pepper, then dust lightly with flour. Rub salt and ground black pepper on all sides of the veal shanks. Place a small amount of flour on a plate and then dip the veal shanks into it, brushing off any excess. You simply want a thin dusting of flour.[2]
  3. 3
    Warm up 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat in a large dutch oven. Dutch ovens are the thick, heavy pots with an enamel coating over them. The come with big heavy lids and are safe for the both the stovetop and the stove. The oil should sizzle as soon as the meat hits it, otherwise it was not hot enough yet.
  4. 4
    Cook all sides of the veal until browned, about 10 minutes per shank. You'll likely have to cook them veal in two batches. Once the oil is hot, put the veal in and let it cook for 4-5 minutes before turning. When each piece is evenly browned on the outside, return it to a clean plate to wait.
    • Remember -- this is only browning the outsides. The meat is not finished cooking yet, and you don't want to overcook it on the stove.
  5. 5
    Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter into the pot. With the veal finished, it is time to make your vegetable braising sauce. The butter will provide some fat and creaminess to cook the veggies in.[3]
  6. 6
    Add one small diced onion, one diced carrot, and one diced celery stalk to the pot and cook until tender. Add a pinch of salt as the veggies hit the pan, then stir and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until everything is soft and translucent. Depending on your stove, this could take up to 10 minutes, so don't rush it.
    • If you're a fan of garlic, 2-3 whole peeled cloves as well, cooking with everything else.
    • Some recipes also call for 1 chopped leak, if you desire it.[4]
  7. 7
    Add the wine, bringing to a brief boil, and let it cook for about two minutes. You want to let the wine cook until about half of it is gone. As soon as it hits the pan, use your wooden spoon to scrape up the browned, cooked bits on the bottom of the pot. This process is called "deglazing."
    • While red wine is more traditional, white makes a slightly different, but equally delicious, dish.
  8. 8
    Add your stock, canned tomato, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves, then nestle in the veal shanks. Start with the rest of your ingredients, then tuck the veal in so that they are almost completely surrounded and covered with liquid. The pot will be packed, but that is a good thing. Make sure the liquid covered at least three-quarters of each shank.[5]
  9. 9
    Bring to a boil, cover the pot, then transfer everything quickly to the preheated oven. Bring your liquid around the veal to a boil, then cut the heat to the stove. Cover the pot and slide it into the oven for an hour.
  10. 10
    Flip the veal shanks after an hour of cooking, then cook for another hour. Use this time to look at the liquid as well. If it is getting low (lower than three-quarters down the veal), add another half cup or so of stock to bring the levels back up.[6]
  11. 11
    Remove the veal once it is tender enough to tear apart with a fork. Place it on a platter and cover it loosely with tin foil. The meat should be unbelievably tender, with the veal falling off the bone and the meat pulling away without resistance. Once it's done, turn off the oven and pull the veal shanks out, setting aside.
    • Meat should always "stand" after cooking. As it cools, liquid inside the meat reabsorbs into the protein fibers, leading to a more tender and flavorful dish.[7]
  12. 12
    Cook the remaining liquid back on the stovetop on medium heat until it thickens to your liking. This usually only takes 4-5 minutes, depending on how thick you like your osso buco, so don't worry about the veal getting cold. Since the sauce pours right on top of the meat, you don't want it to be watery-thin. Furthermore, the longer sauce cooks, the richer and more flavorful it becomes.
    • If you've overcooked it a bit, never fear! A quarter-cup of water stirred in over low heat will bring it back to life.[8]
  13. 13
    Plate one veal shank per person, topping with vegetables and sauce just before serving. Simply ladle up a heap of your braising vegetables and liquid and pour it over the meat to serve it. Alternatively, place the veal shanks back in the liquid and serve the whole thing family style, letting the meat fall off the bone and into the delicious serving sauce.[9]

Method 2
Taking Your Dish to the Next Level

  1. 1
    Tie the shanks up before cooking to keep the shanks together and prevent falling apart. Simply use some kitchen twine to tie the veal shanks up across the width. The goal is to bind the meat to the bone in the center, which will keep it intact for a full shank per person. Cut the twine off right before serving.[10]
  2. 2
    Create a fragrant bouquet garni to impart a subtle herbal flavor. This french technique isn't as difficult as it seems. To make one, simply combine the following herbs in a loose-leaf tea bag, tied up cheesecloth, or muslin bag. Tie the bag up tightly and dunk it into the liquid as it cooks, then remove it once the veal comes out of the oven. This allows you to get all of the herbal flavors without the strands of loose herbs and greens in the sauce.[11]
  3. 3
    Serve the classic dish with its famous topping, a fresh gremolata. This simple parsley-based topping will be served with just about any restaurant osso buco you can find,[12] and you can whip it up quickly and easily at home for a fresh green condiment. To make gremolata:
    • Peel an entire lemon.
    • Mince the peels into small pieces
    • Finely mince three cloves of fresh garlic
    • Chop 1/4 cup fresh parsley.
    • Combine garlic, lemon peel, and parsley. Chill for 30 minutes and use.[13]
  4. 4
    Choose your deglazing liquids wisely to vary the taste of your dish. Deglazing is the wine you pour right after the tomato paste, helping you scrape up the flavorful brown bits on the bottom of the pan to make your veal sauce. Depending on your tastes, you can use a variety of liquids, and which one you use will affect the final flavor:
    • White wine tends to be lighter and crisper, frequently with citrus tones.
    • Red wine tends to have a deeper, more savory flavor, lending more richness to the dish
    • Smell a wine before adding it -- the flavors and scents you pick up will subtly influence the final dish.
  5. 5
    Strain and clarify the braising liquid for a smooth, restaurant-quality sauce. This step is definitely optional, but will take your osso buco to the next level. Once the dish leaves the oven, let it cool slowly to room temperature. When done, remove the shanks and strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer, saving the vegetables for later. You can then bring the sauce to a boil quickly, reducing the heat after it boils and simmering for 10-15 minutes. As it does, use a skimmer or spoon to remove any foam or grease from the surface. After the sauce has thickened, add the veggies and veal back in and warm together before serving.[14]


  • Sample your braising liquid about halfway through cooking. Don't be afraid to reseason if it isn't quite up to your standards, but know that the flavor gets stronger the longer it cooks

Things You'll Need

  • Large cast iron cooking pot

Article Info

Categories: Meat