Originally I was going to post this recipe on Valentine’s Day, but on the day of, I thought better of it. First off, I considered the fact that I’m not a huge Valentine’s Day celebrator, and while I do like kitschy cards and chocolate, this is (probably) never going to be the blog that throws an elaborate heart-themed party or teaches you how to make DIY valentines. There are plenty of passionate, talented bloggers out there covering that sort of stuff, and I admire them for their talent and patience. (Now, throwing an elaborate Game of Thrones party on the other hand…)
Also, this meal is not really conducive to uh, strenuous physical activity. For that I’d recommend scallops maybe, or a chicken piccata, but not braised lamb and creamy parmesan risotto. Osso Buco IS, however, a great winter meal for a cosy night in. Turn up the heat, throw on a movie, and dive into some braised lamb.
Lamb Osso Buco
(serves 4, or 2 with leftovers)
1 pound lamb leg steak*
1 onion, sliced lengthwise
3 tbsp olive oil
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
salt & pepper to taste
*Osso Buco is generally made with veal, but, you know, budgets. Lamb works out just as well, and doesn’t skimp on flavor.
Preheat oven to 325˚ and bust out your Dutch oven. Season the lamb steak(s) with salt and pepper on all sides. Add olive oil to Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat. Add lamb and brown for 5 minutes on each side. Remove with tongs and set aside on a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, add sliced onions and sauté for 4 minutes, then add carrots and celery. Sauté for another 5-7 minutes, until vegetables start to soften. Add garlic and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add wine to deglaze the pan. Make sure you scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon. Add chicken stock and cook for another minute. Return the lamb to the pot, add sprigs and thyme, and cover.
Put the covered Dutch oven in the oven and cook for 2 – 2.5 hours. The original recipe suggested 1.5 hours, but my oven appeared to take longer. You might want to check after 1 hour to be sure. The lamb should be falling apart by the time it’s ready. Either way, flip your lamb steak(s) over halfway through the cook time.
I attempted to serve this with a risotto milanese, but the saffron threads I picked up from Whole Food seemed to have no effect on the flavor. So, I did what any sane person would do — I added a bunch of cheese and turned it into a parmesan risotto. Magic! (You could also serve this with some creamy polenta or egg noodles, if you’re so inclined.)
And, as with all of my favorite braised meats, serve with a robust red wine.