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.