Sunday, 8 May 2011

Recipe #16: Osso bucco stew in red wine with pork spare ribs, bacon, Szechuan pepper, aromatic spices & vegetables


Here I am again, with my favourite Dutch oven, (one of my new best friends), inventing another stew: osso bucco with a twist.

Conventional Italian osso bucco is stewed in white wine; I have opted for red. A strong robust red. To add a richness of texture and complexity of flavour, I also added pork spare ribs. Then to balance the oiliness of the pork, I included Szechuan pepper and fennel. The result, a rather complex dish that is neither overpowering nor over-the-top. Instead, gentle stewing in a Dutch oven makes it simultaneously complex *and* subtle, and the end result is something so upliftingly delightful that you'd never guess what went into it...

Ingredients
  • Osso bucco cuts
  • Pork spare ribs
  • Bacon
  • Red wine ( a young robust Bordeaux or powerful northern Rhone)
  • Beef stock
  • Szechuan pepper
  • Fennel
  • Carrot
  • Potato
  • Celery
  • Parsnip
  • Red capsicum
  • Concentrated tomato paste
  • Bouquet garni
  • Oregano
  • Whole garlic
  • Onion
  • Mushroom
  • Sea-salt
  • Black pepper

Preparation
Prepare meat in the same way as in Recipe #15.
Heat a small amount of olive oil in casserole and add sliced bacon. Sauté until bacon turns golden brown.
Move bacon pieces to side of casserole, or if there isn't enough space, remove them and place aside. Add pork spare ribs, sliced into pieces around 2 - 3 cm wide, and sauté until they begin to brown. If necessary, dry them with paper towel; otherwise they won't brown properly.
Remove pork spare ribs from casserole then add osso bucco. As with the pork, make sure they're dry and sauté them until they brown evenly.
Next, remove beef and add chopped carrots, celery, parsnip, potatoes, fennel, capsicums and onions then sauté in similar manner.
When vegetables are ready, combine with bacon, pork and osso bucco and stir ingredients in casserole over low heat, adding sea-salt and black pepper to taste.

Unlike Recipe #15, baking in flour is omitted.

Simmer ingredients very gently while adding a very generous amount of red wine, followed by beef stock. Ensure that wine totally immerses ingredients (but not by too much). Then place a sachet of bouquet garni & oregano. Add a generous amount of Szechuan peppers; however, if it is your first time cooking with them, start with a little to see how it suits your palate.
Continue to simmer then place covered casserole in pre-heated oven at low- to medium heat for 2 to 3 hours. Check regularly to ensure that it is simmering very gently and doesn't overheat.
If necessary, remove casserole from oven and gently stir ingredients.
While waiting for meat to stew, prepare mushrooms and sliced onions. Dry them thoroughly then sauté in butter until golden brown. Place aside when ready.

To Serve
When stew in casserole is ready, remove from oven, place on stove-top, over a very low heat. Extract bouquet garni, and if whole bulb of garlic is used, squeeze it before removing what's left of the bulb from the stew. Add mushrooms and sliced onions and stir in gently.
Garnish with chopped spring onions and parsley then serve with buttered pasta or bread slices pan-fried in concentrated truffle oil.

Complement with a red Bordeaux or northern Rhone, similar to what was used in cooking.

Leftover stew, if any, can be kept refrigerated then re-heated before eating. It might be necessary to add a little water and simmer very gently over a low heat. The ingredients will become more concentrated and in fact improve in flavour when kept overnight.

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