The RV Chronicles — A 2016 letter to Santa from the ‘Jimmy Rockford’ (Recipe: Slow Cooker Osso Buco)

Dear Santa –

As you check out your list in the next week, you’ll see that I’ve been (mostly) nice this year.  I know, this puts you in an odd predicament.

Relax, because I already have everything I’ve wished for.

Our 2016 has been healthy and happy. Catherine began her new career as a teacher; Baby Girl received her senior class ring and letter jacket; The Boy is as happy as can be; and the other Boy is making plans to become our next college graduate.

We’re still paying a mortgage on a home that we rarely see, and we’re living in a tight 400-square-foot aluminum box — with two cats and a dog. We can’t run our microwave and television at the same time, and a small hose provides our water pressure. Not to mention, we generally have to cook (and eat) in shifts because of the tight space and varying schedules.

But, unlike this time last year, I wake up every morning to see my beautiful soulmate; I get to eat lunch at the boy’s school without having to travel 200-plus miles; and I cook for four — and sometimes five — these days.

So, Santa, you can skip me this year, because — as you can see — I’ve already been blessed with the best gifts one could want.

Merry Christmas,



Looking for something easy and extravagant to serve during these winter months? Look no further than Osso Buco, a melt-in-your mouth Italian classic. This Fine Cooking recipe includes all of the traditional ingredients, but employs the slow cooker to make preparation a breeze. If you’re not into veal, for whatever reason, beef or pork shanks work beautifully.

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Slow Cooker Osso Buco

Slow Cooker Osso Buco — A mostly hands-off recipe that’s just as indulgent as the classic

5.0 from 1 reviews
Slow Cooker Osso Buco
Slow Cooker Osso Buco — A mostly hands-off recipe that's just as indulgent as the classic
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Osso Buco
  • ½ cup - All-purpose flour
  • 4 - 1½- to 2-inch-thick veal shanks (about 2½ lbs.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TB - Unsalted butter
  • 1 cup - Dry white wine
  • 1 - 14½ oz. can diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup - Low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 - Small red onion, chopped (1½ cups)
  • 1 - Medium carrot, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds (1/2 cup)
  • 1 - Celery stalk, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 5 - Fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 TB - Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 TB - Finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 - Large clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
  1. Put the flour in a wide, shallow dish; season the veal shanks all over with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour; shake off the excess flour.
  2. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the butter, and when it foams, add the shanks to the skillet.
  4. Cook until golden, turning once, about 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer the shanks to a slow cooker.
  6. Add the wine to the skillet; scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet and pour the contents of the skillet into the slow cooker.
  7. Add the tomatoes and their juices, chicken broth, onion, carrot, celery, and thyme.
  8. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours—the meat will be very tender and almost falling off the bone.
  9. Transfer the shanks to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
  10. Pour the sauce from the slow cooker into a large skillet; simmer over medium heat until reduced to about 2 cups, 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  12. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the parsley, lemon zest, and garlic to make a gremolata. Serve the veal shanks topped with the sauce and the gremolata.



  1. Kathryn @ anotherfoodieblogger says:

    Merry Christmas Adam! I can see why you are so grateful for your family, and they must feel very grateful to you for cooking ups such splendid dishes as this. Lovely!

  2. Very nice letter to Santa. And your cozy lifestyle sounds pleasantly cozy. 🙂 Our New Year’s Ever tradition is Osso Buco. I started out years ago with a recipe from Saveur and have slightly tweaked it to make it “ours”. It’s such a special treat. Have a wonderful Christmas. I’m picturing that you have a small tree and a string of lights shining brightly from the awning of Jimmy Rockford.

    • adamjholland says:

      It’s pleasantly cozy, alright … for the dog and cats! 😉 I’m working on that string of lights that you mention. So far, I’ve only managed to light up the Meyer Lemon tree. — I’ve not seen the Saveur version of Osso Buco, but I’ve never made a recipe from them that was nothing short of spectacular.

  3. Sounds good to me. Merry Christmas!

  4. I can’t think of the last time I saw veal in the grocery store. Luckily I can get good grass finished beef locally, but I’d like to try making so buco sometime with the real thing.

    • adamjholland says:

      A lot of it depends on the store, Ann. Most of them don’t carry veal in the display because there’s just no demand for it. As it goes, I ordered these shanks at the meat counter.

  5. Oh Adam. This osso-buco is certainly lovely and I have no doubt it is delish…but that letter to Santa is without a doubt one that Santa probably doesn’t see often. I’m sure the osso-buco will fill everyone’s belly, but that note will surely stuff everyone’s heart. Have a Merry Christmas!

  6. This recipe really does look good. I’ve not made it, nor have had the chance to try it. Another keeper recipe that works with my schedule.
    I’m praying for you and your family and that the house will sell SOON for the price you need. This needs to happen.
    Merry Christmas to all of you, I hope you have a great family time

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Jill. It’s a stick-to-your ribs type of dish. And it’s also good using regular beef or pork shanks. — I appreciate your prayers and well wishes. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  7. Hey Adam, am I missing the Pinterest link somewhere?

    • adamjholland says:

      I’m seeing it below the recipe as we speak. However, we’re in the process of moving the website from one server to another and I noticed my Instagram feed disappeared the other day. It’s all related, and I hope to have everything in working order soon.

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