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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Osso Buco & Gentilini Syrah Limited Release 2004

Gentilini Syrah 04 Limited Release Decanting

After a hectic first week back from vacation & a trip to frigid Chicago I decided to make beef Osso Buco for my husband & I. Since there was allot of meat we decided to invite a few friends over.  Since I braised the meat, I figured that a spicy Syrah would pair very well and would have enough acidity to stand up to the meat and the sauce.  Luckily, I was right.

I decided to decant the wine and did so about 2 hours before our gusts arrived.  The wine was a deep red color and surprisingly didn't show signs of age (tawny color, etc...).  The nose had opened up beautifully with aromas of spice, vanilla and ripe red berry.  On the palate, the wine's tannins had integrated beautifully and the acidity was balanced.  Flavors were consistent to the nose and had a pleasant finish. Unfortunately I only had one bottle of this wine and the group was disappointed when we quickly finished it.

The Gentilini S Limited Release Syrah is a wine produced in very limited quantities (about 600 bottles per vintage) annually to commemorate the winery's status as one of the country's oldest boutique wineries (they've been producing wines for over 20 years).  The grapes are from a single vineyard and after careful vinification it is aged for 18 months in Ermitage barrels before bottling.  This wine isn't available for sale due to its small production.  However, Marianna & Petros have been so kind as to bring bottles to me when they come for visits to the US.  Aside from the 2004, I also have a 2006 but I think I'll wait to open that on another night.

Here is my recipe for Osso Buco - it's not too complicated and the oven does most of the work for you.  I have used meat from the CSA that I belong to, 8 O'clock Ranch.  If you are on the East Coast of the US their grass fed meats are really good and are worth ordering from their site.  One note: I never use exact measurements - i always eyeball and add or subtract as necessary.  Sorry!!!

This recipe serves 4.
4 bone in beef shanks (ask your butcher to tie each one w/twine in order to keep the bone with the meat as it cooks)
flour for dredging
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil ( I use Sitia 0.7)
salt & pepper
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
2-3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 14oz can of diced tomato or plum tomatoes coarsely chopped (you can add a 2nd can if you want more sauce)
1 1/2 cup white wine
2 teaspoons Beef Demi glace (if you have it)
low sodium beef or chicken stock (whatever you have on hand - I prefer Kitchen Basics brand)
Bouquet garni: 6 parsley sprigs, 4-5 fresh thyme springs, 2 fresh rosemary springs & a bay leaf all together tied up in a cheesecloth
Garnish: finely minced parsley & lemon zest

Preheat oven to 325F

  • In a dutch oven (large enough to lay all shanks in 1 layer) heat over moderate heat 2 tbs butter with some olive oil.  Don't let the butter burn.
  • Season each shank with salt & pepper on both sides & then dredge each shank in all purpose flour (both sides).  
  • Add the coated shanks, 2 at a time to the dutch oven and sear until each side is a golden brown (about 3 minutes per side).  Remove from dutch oven and transfer to plate or rimmed baking dish & repeat with the remaining shanks.
  • Once all shanks have been browned add white wine & scrape up the brown bits.  Reduce the liquid by half.  Pour the liquid into a bowl & set aside.
  • Add the carrots, onion, celery & garlic to the reduction along with the remaining butter and some olive oil if it begins to look a bit dry.  Cook until the vegetables have softened (about 6-8 minutes).
  • After about 3 minutes, add the beef demi glace if you have it and stir to combine.  You may need to add some stock at this point to soften it.
  • Once the vegetables are softened, add back the reduced wine to the pot and then nestle the shanks on top of the vegetables.  Pour the can of tomatoes over the shanks.  Add enough liquid (stock) so that it comes up almost all the way up each shank and put the bouquet garni on top.  Bring the liquid to a rolling boil. Cover and put in the pre-heated oven.
  • Bake for 2 - 2 1/2 hours, until meat is practically falling off the bone
  • Carefully remove the shanks form the sauce and cover with foil to keep warm (this is where the tied up shank will keep the meat from falling apart in the sauce & causing you to fish around for it)
  • If there is allot of liquid, bring to a simmering boil uncovered to reduce the sauce.  Remove from heat.  Taste & adjust seasonings as needed (salt & pepper).
  • If you like a smoother sauce (I do), use an immersion blender on a low speed to blend.  Alternatively you can put some of the sauce into the blender and puree it then add it back to the rest of the sauce.  Place shanks back in the sauce and let them rest.
  • Plate the shanks and sprinkle with some minced parsley, lemon zest if you have it on hand to jazz up the presentation.
You can make this dish a day or two in advance.  Cool completely and then refrigerate.  Skim off all fat that has risen to the top and then reheat.  Serve the bone & its marrow with a small fork to scoop out the good stuff & enjoy!!!

I served this with a simple salad and potato gnocchi - unfortunately, the dish was inhaled so quickly I was not able to get a picture to post!!!

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