Wednesday, 27 August 2008

What (was) for dinner Wednesday

The suburb of Sydney we have moved to, Marrickville, has a rich immigrant history. Hmmmm I suppose you could say that about all of Australia as the colonised history is only 200 years! Anyway, Marrickville used to be mainly Greek, and now there is a big influx of Vietnamese with a side helping of Italian, Indian, Filipino and Chinese. This makes for fascinating grocery shopping!

I was wondering why there were 7 butchers and 4 fishmongers on my high street, but it could be that each one caters to a different cultural clientelle. Every so often Milord and I pop into one of the grocery stores and spend half an hour saying "WTF is that? You eat that? How? What animal/vegetable/fish did it used to be?" and we come out with one or two wierd things to try. Sugar coated tamarind chilli balls. Indian crazy-hot snack mix. Wasabi coated peas. Tom yum soup cubes.

Interesting, to say the least!

I decided to fire up the slow cooker last weekend as we'd seen some awesome osso bucco cuts in several of the butchers (Italian influence?). These are big beef shank steaks cut across the bone so you have a circle of marrow which adds a silky richness to the dish. They're about an inch thick, and I cooked them slowly with onion, tomato and wine until they were falling apart. I also set the bread machine to baking a loaf, so all through the afternoon the house was filled with amazing baking and cooking smells while I unpacked and tidied!

This is my recipe, loosely based on official versions. The main difference is probably the red wine instead of white. I used a slow cooker but you could easily do this in a casserole dish in a medium oven.

Osso Bucco

4 cuts of osso bucco (2 per person)
250ml beef stock
2 cups red wine (you can use white for a more classic taste)
1 tin diced tomatoes
1 small tin tomato paste
2 onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
olive oil

Put the stock into your slow cooker and start it heating (my slow cooker can take ages to heat up so I set it going before anything else).

Dredge the osso bucco pieces in the seasoned flour, then brown them in a pan with olive oil. Layer them into the bottom of your slow cooker, in the warmed stock.

That's oregano floating on my stock... I also added some sweet soy to counter the tomato sourness but that's just the mood I was in so I'm not putting that in the ingredients!

In the same pan you browned the meat, fry up the onions, garlic, celery and carrot until soft. Add to the slow cooker on top of the meat cuts.

In the same pan again heat up the wine and tomatoes and paste until boiling, then pour into the slow cooker until everything is covered. Add more stock/wine if you need to. Do not stir.

Put the lid on and cook for at least 3 hours, preferably 4. Don't stir - if you stir the meat will fall apart and that's not the look we're going for!

When you are ready, gently lift the pieces of meat into deep plates - 2 pieces per person. Scoop over some of the tomato/onion/wine goodness. Serve with fresh bread for sopping (or rice or mash).

I forgot to take a photo of the finished product so here's a shot from here.

Lovely with a glass or two of shiraz on a cold night!

We had loads of the sauce left over and I used it as the base for a sweet potato soup the next night. Also very yummy!

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