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.
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
- 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.)
- 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.
- Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
- Add the butter, and when it foams, add the shanks to the skillet.
- Cook until golden, turning once, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the shanks to a slow cooker.
- 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.
- Add the tomatoes and their juices, chicken broth, onion, carrot, celery, and thyme.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours—the meat will be very tender and almost falling off the bone.
- Transfer the shanks to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
- 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.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- 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.