There are a lot of ways to save money on meals by choosing less expensive protein sources and shopping sales. Just deciding to cook at home is already going to help your budget.
Taking inexpensive meats and turning them into something delectable is a great way to save money in the kitchen. Osso buco is a great example. It may take a while to cook, but it's worth it.
Living in the Dallas area, my husband and I are a bit spoiled. We are within easy driving distance of Mediterranean/Turkish, Japanese, Mexican, Korean, Chinese, and Indian grocery stores.
We're able to find "gourmet” ingredients at more reasonable prices than if we went looking for the same thing at a specialty foods store. Growing herbs yourself can also save money in the long run, and give you fresh options.
Don’t get me wrong. I love wandering around gourmet herb shops, and some things are worth the splurge. I’m going to get that whole vanilla bean, or the fancy bay leaves if they’re going to be the star of my dish. But I’m also going to balance that out by finding other ingredients on sale.
While this recipe for osso buco can be made with veal shank, beef shanks will be less expensive. You may have to ask at the butcher’s counter to get them. Ask the butcher to cut it into appropriate sized pieces – around 12 ounces each. If you don’t have polenta, serve this with mashed potatoes. I find gremolata (the lemon-parsley mixture) adds a note of brightness to an otherwise heavy dish.
Osso Buco with Creamy Polenta
4 beef shanks
1/2 c. flour 2 tsp. salt 2 tsp. ground pepper 1/4 c. olive oil 1 onion, diced 2 carrots, diced 2 stalks celery, diced 3 cloves garlic, pressed 4 c. beef stock 2 c. dry white wine 2 tbsp. tomato paste 3 bay leaves ½ tsp. ground thyme ¼ tsp. dried rosemary
creamy Polenta, for serving (see recipe below) gremolata, for serving (see recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rinse off the beef shanks. Pat each piece dry.
Combine the flour with the salt and pepper on a plate or in a shallow dish. Pour the olive oil into the bottom of a stovetop-safe Dutch oven or heavy pot. Heat the oil over medium heat. Dredge each shank in the seasoned flour and then place it in the Dutch oven. Brown both flat sides of the meat (around 4-5 minutes for each side). Transfer the shanks to a plate, and set aside.
Add the onions, celery, carrot and garlic to the drippings left in the Dutch oven. Cook until the vegetables soften, approximately 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the white wine, beef stock, tomato paste and bay leaves, thyme and rosemary, and stir to incorporate. Return the beef shanks to the pot.
Lid the Dutch oven, and transfer it to the preheated oven. Braise the shanks for two hours, or until the beef is completely tender. Transfer the beef shanks (including the bone) to a plate. Skim the fat off the remaining liquid and carefully place the Dutch oven back on the stovetop, over medium high heat. Bring the vegetable-sauce mixture back to a simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, until it thickens.
Serve with polenta and some of the vegetable-sauce mixture, and top the beef with a few spoonfuls of gremolata.
Ingredients: 1 tsp. salt 1 c. dry polenta 3 tbsp. butter ½ c. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Put four cups of water and the salt into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour the polenta slowly into the boiling water, whisking constantly. Keep whisking until the polenta has become incorporated. Break up any lumps.
Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, whisking frequently, until polenta starts to thicken, about 4-5 minutes. Cover the saucepan, and simmer the mixture for 30 minutes or until the polenta becomes creamy, stirring occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the butter and cheese. Keep stirring until the butter melts and the mixture becomes uniform.
Ingredients: 1 c. packed flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 2 tsp. garlic, finely minced Zest of one lemon 2 tsp. lemon juice ½ c. olive oil ¼ tsp. salt ¼ tsp. pepper
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
Let us know if you try Amber's recipe! Meanwhile, learn more about the recipe author, Amber Royer, in her interview with us here.