Osso Bucco: is it always so blah?

I've had Osso Bucco about twice in my life, and both times, I thought it was just okay. It certainly didn't live up to the effusive gushing that people tend to do over Osso Bucco.

the thing is, braised meats are my absolute favorite! If I see short ribs on a restaurant menu, that is definitely what I'm ordering! And I love me a good chuck roast. Anything braised, and I'm all over it. So, of course, I expected to love the Osso Bucco. But both times, I was like: "Meh." The sauce seemed bland, thin and watery, not silky and rich they way I like it. I've noticed that almost all the recipes call for chicken broth -- maybe that's part of the problem. I know that veal is a more delicately-flavored meat than beef, which explains the choice of a lighter broth, but IMO it was just TOO light.

Now, I'm planning two different Christmas dinners for guests. I've decided to do a braise for both dinners. I'm currently deciding between short ribs, lamb shanks. I would consider Osso Bucco if I could be convinced that it's possible to make it that's rich and complex, with BIG flavor in addition to fork-tender meat. Can anyone recommend an Osso Bucco recipe that isn't wan and weak?

  • Posted by: Terri
  • November 18, 2019


Nancy November 20, 2019
One of the differences I've noticed in recipes is the number of veal shanks...some use more, others fewer (maybe for economy). And, yes, agree, the broth is very important. Anyway, have a look at this article about the scientific recipe of ossobuchi explained (shades of an Italian Harold Mcgee), accessible thanks to Google Translate.
Terri November 20, 2019
Thank Nancy. This is pretty cool.

I didn't read it word for word yet; I've just skimmed it at this point. My main question, so far, is what in the world is "calf whitewash"? LOL
Nancy November 20, 2019
Badly translated from "biancostato" which is flank or flank steak. Used to make the broth.
Terri November 22, 2019
Ah. Thanks for the clarification.
boulangere November 19, 2019
I'm fond of braising meats in hard cider rather than stocks. Commercial stocks all taste watery to me. Trader Joe's carries two ciders I really like, one apple and the other pear. The pear is the more tart. Be generous with the vegetables, as they will contribute well to the final flavor. Your holiday braises sound wonderful.
Terri November 19, 2019
Thank you boulangere
boulangere November 20, 2019
You are most welcome, Terri. Happy braising!
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