The Ossobucco Tragedy

by foodhoe on May 28, 2008

awwww poor lambie…. it looks a bit burnt around the edges doesn’t it?

It started out well enough… mmm, such a plump and beautiful assortment of mediterranean olives

chopped up and mixed with olive oil, fresh herbs, anchovy that had been pulverized in the stone mortar with some fresh spring garlic…

combined to make a vigorously fragrant tapenade bursting with pungently fresh flavor.

I made a lovely ragout of fresh sprouted legumes with fresh thyme, shallot and olive oil

gently tossed with lightly blanched haricots verts, which is pronounced hairy-co-vare, not hair-a-cots verts, as I thought… or you can just call them French Green Beans.

I carefully seared the shank pieces first before braising for hours in the oven

and then, after all the effort, the ossobucco literally flamed out in a most disconcerting manner… Even I am wondering how we could let this happen. Did I not make an effort to procure beautifully fresh ingredients and find the most delicious sounding recipe ever (from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Chez Panisse alum Suzanne Goin, mind you)? How could this be, you wonder?

Well my friends, I believe it has to do with the fact I tried to do this while learning about beer tasting…

You see, our good friend Mank will be judging beers at a Sam Adams event next week and thought it would be interesting to examine a variety of ales. These were a very robust group, rich and creamy and with a higher alcohol content that we pondered over while studying the obscure beer vernacular that did indeed include the word hoppy…

And I, senior member of the lightweights of america, sampled them all, even taking extra sips to try to discern the flavor of chocolate or malt or if it is grassy or gassy…

and drumroll please – our resounding favorite was the Morimoto Soba Ale! Huzzah huzzah! and there was great celebrating in the land…

hmmmm, what’s that you were saying? the buzzer went off when?…. oh the lamb!!!!

When I opened the oven, it was such a sorry sight that greeted my eyes… the previously plump and succulent shanks were now shriveled and dry little nuggets, the grits had congealed and the green beans were now stone cold… but it still smelled really, really good.

Well, despite all of that, the marrow was delicious. Ahhh, the beauty of dining with such stoic friends who all insisted that it tasted much better than it looked, and even Mr. K said it was pretty good… or perhaps it was the beer chiming in. I believe it was because I used the succulent and fatty lamb osso bucco from the Clark Summit Meatbox, which was very forgiving of my neglectful cooking techniques

and we did make use of my tiny silver salt spoons after all to dig out the marrow from the tiny bones…

In retrospect, the recipe was rather complex for me, the separate components (lamb osso bucco, bean ragout and tapenade) spanned over three pages in the cookbook (click for the recipe here). That right there should have clued me in… Aha, this is why I like eating out. Let the pros do what they are good at, while we sample award winning beers and take pictures!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

rowena May 29, 2008 at 7:45 am

I believe you, I believe you! I am not gonna click into 3 pages worth! 😉 With all of that effort put into it though, all I can focus on is the beer. The majority of italian beer on the supermarket shelves are so NOT worth their salt…errr…malt!


Single Guy Chef May 29, 2008 at 12:30 pm

So how much longer did you end up cooking the osso bucco? Oh well, at least you had a good excuse! Beer tasting will do that to you! BTW, I bet everything did taste better after a few beers huh? Nice to see your cooking adventures at home, the ups and the downs.


foodhoe May 29, 2008 at 1:57 pm

rowena, I’m just a big whiner! The beer was really good, and definitely should have been the focus of the post and the evening!
Singleguy, the recipe was weird and said that after braising for 3 hours, to raise the heat to 400 and place the ossobucco on a baking sheet to brown for 15-20 minutes. It was fall off the bone tender and perfect at that point. I should have just left it in the pan with the juices! Ah well, a fine time was had by all. And yes, at least I haven’t thrown in the towel yet.


Gastronomer May 29, 2008 at 11:32 pm

A valiant effort dear foodhoe! Burnt lamb is better than no lamb at all 😉

Gastronomers last blog post..Her noodles brings all the boys to the yard…


The Leftover Queen May 30, 2008 at 9:35 am

Oh well, I guess we all live and learn. I am just impressed that you tried your hand at the dish! I need to start doing more of these classic, time invloved meat dishes..maybe this fall!

The Leftover Queens last blog post..Finest Foodies Friday: May 30, 2008


Single Guy Chef May 30, 2008 at 3:28 pm

That technique of putting braised meat on a baking tray at high temperature is also the same recommendation I’ve seen when cooking short ribs. I think the idea is to have the juicy meat served with a slightly crispy exterior. So if you’re not that crazy about a crunchy exterior, you could probably skip that extra step or even just place it under a broiler for just a few minutes. I think you should try it again! 🙂


foodhoe May 30, 2008 at 7:00 pm

gastronomer, you’re so right and it almost was really good…
leftover queen, knowing my limitations (short attention span) I should stick with simpler stuff! But I do love those slow braised dishes.
singleguy, yes it would have probably been good if I hadn’t forgot it! I’ll probably get more ossobucco in the meatbox, and so you never know! of course pix up only if a success…


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