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This week's French Garden recipe

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People who know me would tell you that it's hard to tell which I like more: gardening or cooking. I'd say it depends on which I'm doing at the moment. Anyway, French cooking and French gardening go hand in hand. For me, cooking is an on-going adventure. Join me here on my culinary explorations, where I share with you both my old favorites as well as new inspirations. It's my fondest wish that these recipes serve as a springboard for your own new creations.


02/25/2004
"Osso buco" provençale   Clay pot 

Ingredients:

For 4 servings:

2-3 T. olive oil
4 inch-thick slices veal shank
2 medium yellow onions finely chopped
3 carrots finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, degermed and chopped
5 sprigs fresh oregano or marjoram, chopped, or 1 t. dried
1 organic lime, cut in sixths lengthwise
1/2-3/4 bottle dry white wine
1 recipe concassé de tomates

Gremolata:

A 2-inch-long strip of orange rind without pith
3-4 strips of lemon rind
1 large garlic clove, degermed
Leaves from 6 big branches of flat-leaf parsley

Heat half the olive oil in a large clay poelon or dutch oven over medium heat and brown the veal shanks on both sides. Juices should carmelize but not burn. Remove and reserve.

In the same pan, saute the onion and carrot until lightly golden, add the garlic and saute a few minutes more. Add 1/2 cup of the wine and reduce to a glaze. Stir in the concassé de tomates, nestle the meat and the lime pieces in the vegetables, sprinkle in the herb, and pour in wine to just come to the top of the meat without covering. Cover and bring to a simmer on top of the stove, then bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes or more. The meat should be very tender. Check the pan frequently and add more wine if necessary to keep from drying out. Near the end of the baking, the sauce should be reduced and syrupy. If it isn't, remove the meat and keep warm while you reduce the sauce on top of the stove.

Finely chop together the citrus rinds, parsley, and garlic. Do this just before serving. Sprinkle the gremolata over the dish and serve right away with fresh homemade fettucini.

Note: Here in France, I make this dish with a cut of veal known as the tendron, which is the meat surrounding the ends of the ribs. It is cartilaginous, moist, and wonderfully flavorful, and I'm afraid it probably goes to make dogfood in the States. If you can get such a morsel from your butcher, by all means use it. It is less expensive than the shank and even more delicious in this dish, which is full of bright citrus flavors and wonderful in the winter.

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