Winter is no excuse for drab, boring fare. When the days get cold and grey, it’s all the more reason to have something rich, deeply flavored, and aromatic to lift your spirits.
In this recipe we channel the spirit of the Tuscan coast with a Maremma-style lamb osso buco, slowly cooked with tomatoes, celery, garlic, and onions until you can pierce the meat with the side of a spoon, and then finished with some briny black olives and a scattering of chopped parsley and lemon zest.
Maremma-Style Lamb Osso Buco
3 tbsp olive oil
4 pounds lamb shanks, cut into 2-inch osso buco (ask our butcher to do this for you)
1¾ tsp kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
3 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat end of a chef’s knife
2 stalks celery, chopped into ⅓-inch dice
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into ⅓-inch dice
1 onion, chopped
¼ cup tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup unsalted chicken broth
3 cups San Marzano tomatoes from the can, crushed.
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 dried bay leaf
1 sprig fresh rosemary
½ cup pitted, brined black olives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
Zest from 1 lemon
Pat the lamb dry thoroughly using paper towels. Season with salt and pepper, dredge in all-purpose flour, and set aside on a plate in one layer.
Heat the olive oil in a high-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sear the lamb in the hot oil till well-browned on all sides, approximately 8 minutes.
Remove the lamb to a plate and set aside.
Lower the heat and add the garlic, celery, carrots, onions, and 1 tsp salt to the pan. Stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any browned bits of flour or caramelized juices from the lamb. Continue cooking till the vegetables begin to color lightly and become fragrant, 5-6 minutes.
Clear the vegetables to one side in the pan and add the tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste in the oil at the bottom of the pan till it becomes fragrant and turns a brick-red color and begins to caramelize around the edges.
Add the wine and stir everything together well, making sure to scrape up all the bits of caramelization from the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, then add the broth, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, and the crushed tomatoes.
Return the lamb to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook on lowest heat on the stovetop, or in a 325°F oven, for 2 hours, or until the lamb is tender and offers no resistance to the tip of a paring knife.
Remove the shanks to a plate and keep warm, covered in foil. Using a flat spoon, skim the excess fat off the top of the sauce. Remove the herb sprigs and bay leaf from the sauce, and check for seasoning. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
Return the meat to the pan with the black olives, and heat through before serving warm, scattered with chopped parsley and lemon zest.