Beefing it up with Osso Buco

Osso Buco“So, what’s your blog all about Conor?” 

“It’s a food blog”

“Oh! You write about cooking. What’s it called?”

“One man’s meat.”

“I see. So you focus only on meat dishes. Is that right?”

“No. I do a range of stuff. I do a fair bit of fish and some desserts and so on and meat, of course.”

“Why’d you call it One Man’s Meat then?”

So wandered a recent conversation. I stoutly defended my right to call it what I like and I went on (at some length, no doubt) to labour the point of the “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.” analogue. Meaning the blog was not for everyone and perhaps it was not for him. I reckoned I put the guy in his place. He was being pretty pedantic and, I suspect, winding me up a little. 

I can take the odd wind-up. That doesn’t bother me much. But, I did get to thinking about what I have been doing of late. I admit I have cooked a fair trawl of fish. I even knocked out a couple of desserts. I suppose I had better put things back on track with some big-time beef action. To do this, I decided to cook a version of Osso Buco. I used ox tails instead of the more traditional veal shanks. Sorry for breaking with tradition. I did serve it with Risotto Milanese, as is traditional.

As is also almost traditional in this blog, I neglected to put a couple of the ingredients in the photo. This time I am missing the beef stock, the flour, the oil and the garlic.

It's probably a waste of pixels showing this given the missing ingredients.

It’s probably a waste of pixels showing this given all the missing ingredients.

To feed six people you will need two ox tails. Yes, these are really the tail of the cow. The other ingredients are:

  • 500 ml of beef stock
  • 500 ml of Italian wine
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 4 stems of celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sprigs of rosemary
  • sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato purée
  • flour for dusting
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for frying

If we are getting back into meaty posting, I suppose I should show you the meat of this dish.

Now, there's a decent meat shot. I'm sorry for ever showing fish.

Now, there’s a decent meat shot. I’m sorry for ever showing fish.

First thing to do is to dust the oxtails with seasoned flour.

Big, beefy, meaty shot number two.

Big, beefy, meaty shot number two.

Fry them in some oil in a casserole dish (Dutch oven).

Taking on colour and flavour. Big, beefy, meaty shot number three.

Taking on colour and flavour. Big, beefy, meaty shot number three.

While this is going on, slice the carrots.

This trio of vegetables are at the heart of every Italian stew.

This trio of vegetables (and garlic) are at the heart of every Italian stew.

Then the celery.

Celery is not everybody's favourite but it adds great flavour.

Celery is not everybody’s favourite but it adds great flavour.

Chop the garlic.

Don't be afraid of using plenty of garlic. This is hearty stuff.

Don’t be afraid of using plenty of garlic. This is hearty stuff.

Leave the onions until last, so you don’t end up crying into the vegetables.

Less tears if you leave the onions until last.

Less tears if you leave the onions until last.

Take out the meat and sweat the vegetables and garlic in the flavoured oil. This gives me an excuse to show you another meat shot.

A completely gratuitous meat shot. I know you hardcore meat fans want this.

A completely gratuitous meat shot. I know you hardcore meat fans want this.

Add the herbs and the tomato purée to the vegetables.

A brief, meat free interlude. The last one of the post.

A brief, meat free interlude. The last one of the post.

Return the meat and add the wine and beef stock.

No complaints from the meat brigade, I'm sure.

No complaints from the meat brigade, I’m sure.

Put the lid on and put it in a 140ºC oven for three to three and a half hours. After this time, It will look something like this.

The flavours are starting to intensify.

The flavours are starting to intensify.

Put it on the stove top and boil until the liquid has formed an unctuous gravy. You can also use this time to make the risotto. That’s for another post at some stage. It is simply a risotto using saffron infused stock in the process. It gives a nice flavour and a lovely yellow colour.

Beefy enough for you?

Beefy enough for you?

The slow cooked ox tails released huge flavour from the bones and marrow. This is a delicious, warming dish and one that serves as a reminder the blog is not called “One Man’s Meat” for nothing.

I might do some cup cakes next time…. NOT!

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Latest comments
  • I’ve never cooked ox tails before. Your dish looks deeelicious (and meaty, good job!). Funny, as I never thought twice about your blog being ‘One man’s meat’. I always assumed it was to do with the aforementioned saying (good to know the assumption was right!). I think you strike a good balance here Conor. I love the diversity of the proteins and the fact that you’re bloody good at everything culinary. Love this post (stick it to ’em!).

    • Laura, you are too kind by half. I will keep the variety going but, I did think I needed to make a meaty statement. This is as meaty as it gets.

  • Wonderful. I love oxtails! My opinion; it’s your blog and you can write, cook and call it whatever you like, otherwise, what’s the point?

    • That’s for sure Rosemary. But, just in case people thought I was losing my touch, I thought I should do this.

  • Nice article, Conor. Had worried you’d been getting too in touch with your feminine side of late – this though is real, rib-sticking, man food! The ingredients might not be as stripped down as of recent, but this is full on, favoursome grub. Your pedantic friend who missed the point of your blog name might also point out that the dried bay leaves have changed their name to basil in the ingredients list, but as Andre Maurois said “There are some that for whom pure truth is a poison”. Here’s to proper winter food!

    • Thanks Adam,
      I could deny all knowledge about the bay leaves but, I have just fixed that. There is very little ‘pure truth’ in my approach to cooking. It’s the diversity of approaches that make it fun. And, yes it really is proper winter food.

  • This is just outstanding. Thank you for the additional meat shot.

    • Happy to oblige Adam. I had let things slip a little. I hope all is good in Texas.

  • Oh my god this looks delicious! And with risotto? You’re really going all out! Congratulations on being a finalist in the Irish Blog Awards… So well deserved 🙂

    • Thank you! The Risotto Milanese is a traditional dish to serve with it (or so I hear).
      The awards should be a bit of fun. The event is on Saturday and I am popping along with blogging daughter.

  • No wasted pixels here 🙂

    • You are too kind. I should really try to get my act together on the ingredients shots.

  • excellent, do you add the marrow from the bone when you fry the risotto? yam yam!! 🙂

    • No, that leaks out in the cooking to enrich the beef sauce. Very tasty.

  • Never had oxtail before but I’d be willing to give it a taste if it looks like this… delicious! Did I miss a post where you announced that you are a finalist for the Irish Blog Awards? That is fantastic Conor! Good luck!!

    • I was a bit “behind the door” as we say here. I did put a big purple graphic on the blog home page bud decided to not put it everywhere. I am a very shy person really.

  • My mom made oxtails often, I’ve never even tried to cook them. I was eyeing them at the market the other day and decided against it. I’m encouraged to pick them up now. I just remember being a kid and picturing oxen without tails anymore! This post is a keeper. I’ll make this one.

    • There is a breed of cat called a Manx. They have no tail. Thanks be to goodness the cattle do.

  • I already have designs on some local ox tail… You’ve reinforced my conviction to use it. Good job 😉

    • Thanks Nick,
      It was really bursting with beef flavour. A real winter warmer. Perhaps you could pop it in the oven on a cold day, do 3 and a half hours in the Welsh mountains on the bike and come home with an appetite. I will have some exciting bike news soon….

  • Great recipe, Conor. I especially enjoyed the return of gratuitous meat shots! I do find it a bit peculiar that you call this Osso buco, as that is the Italian word for shanks (literally: bone with a hole in it). The preparation certainly is very similar and the risotto alla milanese is the classic side. Your coda brasata di bue does look delicious though!

    • Thanks Stefan. I should have known you would pull me up on my sneaking the wrong cut into the dish. Coda brasata di bue it is!

  • Ah, beef – the further it gets from from the middle the tastier it becomes. Never tried it with a risotto Milanese – I’ll have to remedy that. Great dish, Conor.

    • They work really well together Phil. It is cold weather one, for sure.

  • I love oxtail. I like it braised with Moroccan spices (among other ways) but never considered an osso buco with it. I imagine it would be very tasty as it’s the perfect braising meat. Nice photos, too. You even captured a pouring shot. 🙂
    As for the blog name, One Man’s Meat” is fine with me. Sorry the rube with whom you were speaking didn’t get it.

    • Thanks Richard, I actually had two pouring shots including a wine one but could not think of anything intelligent to say with it so I left it out. I love the term ‘rube’.

  • Really love this post Conor, especially that oxtail picture. I couldn’t complain about any of your posts, however maybe cupcakes would be a step too far.

    • The day I do them will be the day after I die.

  • Hello teacher! Thank you for this one for certain!!!! Osso Buco Milanese has been one of my standby small party dishes for decades ~ also absolutely love oxtail, readily available here and cheap and truly ‘unctious’. Well, I have never quite put the two together either, but it surely will be after next shopping day!! Now I must admit I do like a punchy gremolata, but perchance this ‘osso buco’ [I’ll happily call it that!!] does not quite need it. Trials ahead!!!!

    • Thanks Eha, they work very well together.

  • unctuous. love it.

    i do love me some osso bucco. i like risotto a lot, but i sometimes end up in a funk that makes me think it is little too rich to go with osso bucco. i feel like i’m going to explode when i finish it. when i get a chance to make your recipe, i might cook some couscous or polenta using your gravy base and see how it turns out.

    • It is a pretty rich combination. Though, they really are good together. It’s worth a bit of discomfort.

  • Damn I love ox tail.This post makes me want to eat ox tail… even though it’s still about 30C outside. Nice job my friend.

    • Thank you. 30 degrees might not suit. You guys have a while to wait for winter. Ours is threatening right now.

  • Fabulous! I love oxtail but I’ve never tried it this way. Good luck on Saturday at the blogging awards.

    • Thanks Linda,
      I expect to have a good night and to be there to congratulate the winner.

  • I suppose you could change it to One Man’s Fish, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it or word play. That looks like lovely oss tail – i usually cook it twice (until it falls off the bone) but one man’s meat is another man’s poison 😉

    • Ha ha MD. Cooking twice would be interesting. One of my girls ate hers with a spoon. That was pretty fall off the bone…

  • I have to confess to being more than a little squeamish. My husband always talks of growing up loving homemade oxtail soup and sucking up the tender meat. (my growing up version of oxtail soup involved a packet of Knorr!) Your recipe has convinced me that I must give this version of osso buco a go, so thank you!

    • Thanks Nicki,
      It does not require much chefing. Easy to do a soup with them too. I’ll bet it would beat the Knor too.

      • No doubt about it Conor. (With no disrespect to my poor departed mother!)

  • This is such a great dish, Conor, and with Fall in full swing here, your timing is perfect. Plating it, as you did, with saffron-tinted risotto alla Milanese, makes the meat look all the more appealing. Just this morning, I saw veal shanks at the market and almost bought a couple, with osso bucco in mind. I didn’t for the laziest of reasons. I was just about finished with my shopping when I went to the meat counter. Had I bought the veal, I would have had to go back through the store and without a list, I surely would have forgotten something. Better to plan ahead for a dinner this special. This was a great post.

    • Thank you John, I thought I might have attracted your disapproval for using tail rather than shank. I appreciate your very kind words. I would love to see the real deal cooked by the real deal.

  • Looks amazing! I made Oxtail soup and got frustrated with removing the meat from the many bones in the tail. How did you cope with all the bones? My best – B

    • Slow oven cooking does it Barb. It pretty well fell off the bones.

  • That shot of the oxtails before you did anything with them could be called “meat porn” just as easily as a “meat shot.” We make oxtails every so often and have never been disappointed.

    • I was happy with that one for sure. Very pleased with the outcome of the dish too.

  • Love osso bucco. Where did you manage to source oxtail? Thought it used to be banned here…

    • The local butcher. I think it was banned as was rib on the bone. Thankfully, all available and all very tasty.

  • Love it, especially with oxtails. I had to laugh at your missing ingredients. Before I take an ingredients photo now I ask my wife, “Are you SURE everything’s here?” When I do blow it–it’s big time, as in forgetting to shoot the second of two trays of ingredients. Great intro, “One man’s meat… get it?” “Uh, no.” Hahahahahaaaa. Ken

  • A great looking beef dish with a pun in the title — what more could a guy ask for? Well done, sir.

    • Thanks Tommy, I had strayed a bit from the meat path of late. Good to be back on track.

  • A.MA.ZING! Leave it to italians to make a magnificent meal out of cheap ingredients. The colors in the first pic are wonderful Conor! All food bloggers can relate to others asking about our blogs.

    • Thank you Paula, a very flavoursome meal was fad that night.

  • My catching up morning on all the lovely meat, fish, veggie and desserts you do. Photos, text and recipes always done top notch.
    I love this Osso Bucco almost as much as I love the word pedantic:)

    • Thanks Wendy. I love having you visit.

  • that’s buco with one c!

    • I had a quick look and there are lots of people using two c’s. We will stick with the one for now.

  • Mmmm. Mmmmmm. Mmm mmm mmmmm!

    • That pretty well sums it up.
      Thank you for that and thanks for the visit,

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