It is that time of year in Canada where we gather with friends, family and loved ones to give thanks and share an autumn meal. This is one of my favourite celebrations, with harvest bursting at the seams, a bounty of good food, and especially the root vegetables by the bucket full.
Somewhere in between being a vegetarian and a meatatarian, I became disenchanted with tired of the traditional turkey meal for holidays. Now, I like to celebrate occasions with a meal that feels truly special. Using the extra time I linger over food preparation, enjoy the process, obsess over details and honour my guests with a meal that has been put together with thought, care, attention and so much love.
The following recipe is a delight, surprisingly simple and what better way than to pair it with an Italian wine!
The Nebbiolo grape is from the Piedmont region in NE Italy. Nebbiolo derives from the Italian wine “Nebbia” meaning fog. This refers to the fog that hangs around the hills around Alba during harvest time. The grape has been documented back to the 13th century and is high tannins and a concentration of acids that make it long lived. This means you have to leave that “wild horse” in the stable for a few years to calm it down an make it approachable. Once it has had some time in the bottle, it has a wonderful complexity that combines dried red fruits, leather, sour cherries, truffles, mushrooms, roses, and earthy elements like herbs and tar. Do not let all this scare you away, it all comes together in a wonderful fashion and will not disappoint. The best examples are the wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. Barolo DOCG must be aged for three years, with at least 18 months of that in oak, combined this with the region and the end result is dreamy like a old movie star of years gone by.
- 6 (300g) Veal Shanks
- 1/4c seasoned flour
- 2tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4c olive oil
- 2 onions chopped
- 1-1/4c Nebbiolo
- 1-1/2c canned plum tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1c beef broth
- 1/2tsp salt
- 1/4tsp freshly ground black pepper
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Make the “Gremolata” It is a mixture of parsley, garlic and lemon zest. It is added just before serving. Be sure to finely chop everything. Mix well and set aside.
- Dust the veal shanks with the seasoned flour. Make sure not to leave excess flour.
- In a heavy casserole dish (or dutch oven if you have one) melt butter, add oil and brown the shanks until they are browned on all sides. (do a few at a time depending on the size of your dish)
- Put the shanks aside.
- In the dish add onion and cook them until they are softened. Add wine and bring to a boil. Ensure you scrape all the bits of browned shank that cling to the pan. Boil gently for 2 – 3 minutes.
- Stir in tomatoes, and beef broth. Add veal shanks and ensure that all sides have been coated in the sauce. Add salt and pepper. Bring to a slow, gentle boil, cover and let cook gently for 1.5 – 2 hours. (Or until veal is tender and sauce has thickened) Add a little water or wine if necessary, checking the meat from time to time.
- Once sauce has thickened, and meat is throughly cooked, adjust seasoning to your taste.
- Sprinkle the gremolata over the ossobuco just before serving.
~Trina Plamondon is the founder of Carpa Vino, a local company specializing in private wine events, wine consultation & wine education. In her blog she helps others discover the magic in wines.