We rarely buy anniversary presents for each other. Our preference is to either go away somewhere, or treat ourselves to a special meal out.
As we’re still settling Mr Tilly in, we’re reluctant to leave him to his own devices for more than an hour or so. We’re possibly being a little over protective, but that’s what happens when ya our age and you get a new puppy…… Have I mention before that this puppy is going to one very spoilt little puppy! Mr Tilly (aka Tilly-Mon), living the ‘Life of Riley’ already.
Having missed out on the bulk of the winter means we’ve missed out on all the slow cooked comfort food that one associates with the long, dark winter nights. Although Spring is here, the nights are still cool, so we decided to celebrate our anniversary with a good bottle of red (2014 Woodlands from Jolliffe Vineyard), and a good slow cooked braise. I must say the wine was very, very smooth – and we have a 2012 to look forward to at a later date.
I’m not one to fuss with cooking, so here’s my version of Osso Bucco. You’ll notice I don’t do any pre-sealing of the meat which is supposed to lock in the juices and create a bit of caramelisation. My mother never pre-sealed meat when cooking a braise, and I can honestly say I don’t notice any difference in the taste or the texture. So, I continue to cook a braise the way my mother did, it’s easy, and creates less dishes.
Osso Buco (serves 4 – in our case two dinners)
4 good sized Osso Bucco steaks with marrow bone in
1 large brown onion
4 cloves of garlic
tomato paste (3 – 4 desertspoons full – I used a squirty bottle of Leggos to squirt out a generous blob)
1 can of tomatoes (I used a can of baby romas, but any can will do)
1/2 cup of red wine, plus 1/2 cup of water
Pinch of mixed herbs, and salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley to serve
How to cook it:
Preheat oven to 210 centregrade
Roughly crush and chop garlic cloves (don’t be too fussy – they don’t need to be finely chopped). Slice the onions. Scatter these in the bottom of a favourite oven tin.
Make 3 – 4 short cuts in the sides of each piece of meat to stop it from curling up, and lay on top of the onions and garlic.
Put a small squirt (or a small spoonful) of tomato paste onto each steak.
Sprinkle with a pinch of mixed herbs (approximately 1/4 tsp in total), season with salt and pepper according to taste. Add the canned tomatoes including the juice, and the wine and water.
Cover tightly with either foil, or a lid.
Cook for 15 minutes (This is my version of sealing the meat). Then lower the temperature to 165 celsius and cook for approximately 3 hours. Turn the meat after the first 90 minutes. Don’t be gentle as you’ll be stirring all the sauce ingredients together as you turn the steaks. Add a little more water and/or wine if it looks like it’ll be needed.
Test after 3 hours to ensure meat is tender. Sprinkle with a generous serving of chopped parsley and serve with sides of your choice.
I served ours with pasta and broccolini topped with sour cream.
We had a light desert of cinnamon and lemon poached pears, served slightly warm with store bought ice-cream to finish off.
So, so easy. Yum – a little bit of winter to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. What a pleasure!