Saturday 14 August 2010


Italian Braised Beef Shanks/Osso Bucco/炖小牛腿肉[dùn xiǎo niú tuǐ ròu]

Serves 4

Preparation Cooking Time: 3 hours


- 4 beef shanks
- Some flour to coat the beef shanks (about 4 TBS)
- 1 litre water
- 1-2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 leek chopped white portion
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 carrots chopped
- 4 stalks celery chopped
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 2 TBS cooking oil
- 1 cup (240ml) white wine (optional)
- 1-2 strig of rosemary (optional)
- A few strigs fresh or dried thyme (optional)
- 1 cup of frozen green peas (optional)
- Salt & pepper to taste

1. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the beef shanks and coat them lightly with flour.

2. Braise the beef shanks by heating the pot with 1 TBS cooking oil and lightly fry the beef shanks for 1 minute on each side until brown.

3. Add half of the white wine and cook for 1 minute (optional).

4. Add water and simmer under low heat for 3 hours (no. 2 on my stove).

5. While the shanks are cooking, wash, rinse and chop vegetables.

6. Heat oil on a separate pan with 1 TBS of cooking oil and fry garlic, leek, onions, dried thyme until brown, then add celeries, carrots and fry for 3 minutes and add salt.

7. Add the rest of the white wine and cook for 3 minutes to let it evaporate (optional).

8. Pour it into the pot with beef shanks and add tomatoes and rosemary.

9. After 3 hours, serve with rice, potatoes or couscous and a teaspoon for eating the marrow.

Pressure Cooking Method:
After step 4 above, add all ingredients into pressure cooker, cover lid and once pressure cooker reaches pressure according to your cooker, let it cook for 30-35 minutes (for me: no. 2 setting on pressure cooker and no. 2 on stove) .

1. In order to include a super green vegetable, I sometimes throw in a cup of green peas just 5 minutes before serving and let it simmer for last 5 minutes.

2. If the vegetables in the stew are too overwhelming to finish, scope some of them out together with a little of the oil that is floating on top and blend in the blender to make a sauce to accompany the osso buco. I blended in also some fresh parsley and salt, and viola, a ready and healthy sauce is made immediately.

Nutritional Value:
Beef shank is a good source of phorsphorus, zinc, selenium, iron and vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B12, but it is high in cholesterol and calories.

Additional Information:

I saw beef shanks in the Danish supermarket, and asked my Significant Other what it is. I have never tried it before, but my Significant Other’s mother made it sometimes, when he was a child. The meat is rather tough, but if you braise it, it gets so tender and juicy. The marrow is very nutritious and it is the best part of the beef shanks, but it is high in cholestrol. This dish is very time-consuming and I only make it during weekends. Osso buco means braised beef shanks in Italian. Besides fish, this is the only meat that J is willing to eat right now, as it is very tender after simmering for 3 long hours.

This dish cost around 125 DKK or 30 SGD for ingredients alone in the Danish supermarkets. The beef shanks alone cost 75 to 80 DKK or 18 SGD, but I can save money if I don’t add in the fresh herbs. Although without the fresh herbs, it will not be an authentic Italian dish, it is still very tasty, because of the flavour from the beef shanks. This dish is very similar to making Chinese soup. I am discovering that there are actually many things in common between Italian and Chinese cooking, apart from the different herbs used.

Most recipes call for using chicken stock, but in my opinion, the beef shanks give a lot of flavour already, and it is not necessary to use chicken stock. I tested making this dish without using the white wine, and it still tasted as good.

I like to make stew such as the Chinese beef stew or the italian Osso Bucco especially on weekend when we usually have a packed programme and I can't reach home in time to make dinner. With stew, I can start making dinner way ahead of time already in the morning when J is still sleeping. Then we can go out, and by dinner time when we reached home, we can just warm the food and eat dinner. I don't have to spend time making dinner.



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