Another Firsthand Foods Meat Box winner! Osso Bucco is one of those dishes that benefits from the luxury of time - low and slow, bubbling away on your stovetop on a Sunday afternoon. This version puts an Asian twist on what is traditionally an Italian dish. All of the flavors of Korean barbecue come together to make a meltingly-tender, tangy, and slightly spicy ode to one of our favorite cuts of meat. Serve this alongside a big steaming bowl of rice and some kimchi or thinly sliced fresh veggies for a hearty cold-weather meal. Don’t forget some slices of bread for that delicious marrow in the bones!
A note on ingredients: most everything here can usually be found at your local supermarket with the exception of the Korean red pepper paste, gochujang. For that you may need to visit one of the Triangle’s many Asian markets like Li Ming in Durham, Grand Asia in Raleigh, or H-Mart in Cary. We’ve also included a shortcut at the bottom of the recipe if it seems like too many ingredients, but we can assure you that a trip to one of the Asian markets is well worth the journey.
3-4 pounds of beef shank (osso bucco), cut into thick steaks
1 medium onion, peeled & thinly sliced
2 stalks of celery, diced
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sake or rice cooking wine
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 Tbsp gochugang (Korean red pepper paste)*
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
1 quart of beef stock
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Make the sauce - in a medium saucepan combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sake, brown sugar, honey, vinegar, gochujang, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, stirring often, and cook until the sugar, honey, and gochujang have dissolved (but do not let boil). Remove from the heat and set aside.
Pat the osso bucco dry and generously season each piece on both sides with salt and pepper. In a heavy-bottomed pot heat about a ¼ cup of vegetable or peanut oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (a drop of water carefully flicked into the pan should sputter and pop), add the osso bucco, being careful not to crowd the pan. Brown each piece on all sides, flipping them every few minutes, until they have a nice caramelized crust. Once browned remove the pieces to a plate and repeat the process with any remaining osso bucco.
Once all the osso bucco pieces have been browned, reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and celery to the pan. Saute, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes until the vegetables just begin to wilt. Add in the tomato paste and saute, still stirring frequently, for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the paste just begins to darken. Pour in the 1 quart of beef stock and the Korean barbecue sauce you made earlier, raise the heat to high, and stir to combine all the ingredients as you bring the sauce to a boil.
Once the sauce has reached a boil, very carefully add the osso bucco pieces and any juices that have accumulated on the plate. It’s ok if the liquid doesn’t completely cover the meat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover to maintain a simmer. Cook the osso bucco for 2 ½ to 3 hours, checking every once in a while, until the meat is tender enough to fall off the bone with a gentle pull. (If the liquid looks like it’s gotten too low, add a splash or water or some more beef stock.)
Once the osso bucco has cooked carefully remove the meat and bones to a platter - a slotted spoon is your friend here. Return the pan to the stove on high heat, bring to a boil, and boil the remaining liquid, stirring often, for 8-10 minutes, until the sauce has reduced a bit and thickened. Carefully taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more red pepper flakes if you prefer a spicier sauce.
Serve the osso bucco alongside steamed rice and top everything with the hot sauce. Feel free to serve the bones too - that marrow in the center is edible and tastes great on bread!
*The 1 Tbsp Korean red pepper paste can be substituted for 2 tsps Sriracha. The resulting sauce will lack some of the depth but still have a great tang and bite.
Shortcut: You can omit making the Korean barbecue sauce from scratch and find a jar at the supermarket. Just add 1 ½ cups of store-bought Korean barbecue sauce when you add the stock, and then add red pepper flakes or Sriracha to achieve your desired spice level.
This recipe was developed in partnership with Firsthand Foods. You can learn more about their dedication to sourcing responsibly-raised local meats as well as information on how to subscribe to their monthly Meat Box on their website.