Cooking osso buco in a slow cooker is ideal, as doing so allows the dish to accumulate even more flavor. Those who want to give the dish a try at home can consider the following recipe for “Osso Buco with Apples and Bourbon” from Andrew Schloss’ “Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More” (Chronicle Books).
Osso Buco with Apples and Bourbon
Makes 4 servings
4 pieces veal shank, each about 14 ounces and 2 inches thick
All-purpose flour for dredging
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 leeks, white parts only, chopped
2 celery stalks, peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1⁄4 cup bourbon
1 cup good-quality low-sodium beef broth
1⁄2 cup apple cider
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Finely grated zest of 1⁄2 orange
1 bay leaf
2 large tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 200 F.
Tie each piece of veal shank securely around its perimeter with kitchen twine.
Season the flour with salt and pepper on a sheet of aluminum foil. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the shanks and sear, turning once, until browned nicely on the top and bottom, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the leeks, celery and garlic and sauté until the leeks are just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Return the shanks to the pan along with any juices that accumulated on the plate. Add the bourbon and bring to a boil. Add the broth, cider, rosemary, thyme, orange zest, and bay leaf. Return to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Cover and bake until meat is fork-tender and the marrow has shrunk inside the bone, at least 5 hours (but there is no harm in going longer, up to 8 hours). Add the apples and bake until the apples are soft, about 2 hours longer.
Skim the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid and add the cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Carefully transfer the shanks to a platter, untying each one as you do. Spoon the sauce over the shanks and serve.
Variation: In a slow cooker
Put the shanks in a 6-quart slow cooker after browning. Make the sauce as described and add to the cooker. Lay the apples on top. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low. Finish with the cream and serve.