As those of you who follow me on Twitter or are regular readers of this Sunday recipe column will know, my partner is intolerant to tomatoes, so when I was given some rather large pieces of ossobuco, the traditional dish was a no-no and an alternative was required. The result was a winter stew, as opposed to the summery tomato Mediterranean dish which is the norm. It was made extra thick thanks to the additional use of a pig’s trotter. The perfect accompaniment (other than a large glass of rich red wine) is a flavoured mashed potato. It’s up to you what you flavour the mash with; at various times I have used parmesan, olive oil, and truffle oil. Equally, I think a parsnip mash or a half-and-half parsnip and potato mash would work beautifully.
• 2 large pieces of ossobuco (1kg+ in total weight)
• 1 pig’s trotter, optional – if used tie it in muslin or a muslin bag
• 1 onion, chopped
• 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
• 1 carrot, diced
• 1 stick of celery, chopped
• 300g mushrooms, sliced
• 500ml red wine
• 500ml chicken stock
• Sea salt
• Olive oil
• 25g butter
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Start by heating some olive oil in the bottom of a large casserole pan. Brown the ossobuco for a few minutes on each side. Then remove the ossobuco from the pan and set aside.
Now add the butter and a little more olive oil to the pan and fry the onion and garlic until it is soft. Next add the carrot and celery and fry till softened; add the red wine to the pan and deglaze. Follow this with the chicken stock and then return the ossobuco to the pan. Top this with the mushrooms, thyme and, if using, add the pig’s trotter. Make sure all the ingredients are bellow the liquid; if they are not, add more chicken stock.
Put the lid on the pan or cover it with foil, and place it in the oven to cook for 4-5 hours until the meat is falling off the bones and the marrow of the ossobuco bones has dissolved.
Remove the ossobuco from the pan and put to one side; cover with foil to keep warm. Place the pan on the hob and allow the sauce to simmer till it thickens to your desired state. Then return the ossobuco to the pan to warm it through. Remove the pig’s trotter and serve with mashed potatoes.
Tip: Due to the way the sauce coagulates over time, it is best to eat this dish a day or two after it has been cooked. If you want to do this, leave it to cool overnight and then store it in the fridge. Heat it thoroughly, though, when you want to eat it.