How-To Guides

How to cook lamb ossobuco

An overhead shot of two lamb ossobuco steaks, laid on a metal tray with some rosemary sprigs next to it.

What is lamb ossobuco?

Lamb ossobuco offers a different take on the cut used in a famous rich Italian stew which goes by the name Ossobuco. Translating to “hole of the bone” because of the marrow-filled leg bones used to swamp the dish with luxurious depth and texture. The traditional cut is a cross cut veal shank, but here we offer a similar cut from Swaledale’s free-roaming, grass-fed lamb legs.

Ossobuco lamb cooking time

Whilst a traditional ossobucco is slowly braised, in the case of lamb, it can also be cooked quickly (similar to a lamb leg steak) in a non-stick pan or on the barbeque over high heat. The difference being that the cut of veal used for the traditional ossobuco is from the shin and therefore is not suitable for cooking pink. Whereas these lamb ossobuco are cut from the upper part of the leg, where the meat is more tender. 

A long, slow braise will need a minimum of 3 hours for the meat to fall apart. The modern and more popular ossobuco recipe sees the lamb swimming in a flavour-packed tomato sauce with herbs, vegetables, and a generous glug of full-bodied red wine. 

The quick-fire approach will take around 4-5 minutes each side, until medium (our recommended doneness).

We’ve provided step-by-step instructions below for both cooking methods, so you can impress your guests with a simple and very delicious special occasion meal.

Traditional lamb ossobuco recipe

  1. Take your lamb ossobuco out of the fridge. Remove from the vacuum packaging and pat dry any moisture. Allow it to come up to room temperature. 
  2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a flameproof casserole dish over high heat. 
  3. Season the lamb liberally with coarse sea salt and black pepper, then lightly dust with flour.
  4. Fry the lamb on all sides in small batches until browned all over. Set the meat aside once it’s turned a dark caramel colour.
  5. Add carrots, onions, celery, and garlic to the same pan until softened for about 15 minutes. Add half a bottle of full-bodied red wine, bring to the boil over a  moderate-high heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  6. Add fresh tomatoes (if in season); otherwise, use a tin of chopped tomatoes. Citrus zest and chopped rosemary can also be great additions at this stage.
  7. Pour chicken or lamb stock and mix gently to combine. Bring to the boil and then pour over the meat.
  8. Have a taste before putting it in the oven. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. 
  9. Cover the casserole with a lid and bake in the oven for 3-4 hours. Stir occasionally to make sure it’s not catching on the base.
  10. The lamb is ready when it can be pulled apart with a fork, while the sauce should be rich and silky. 
  11. Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly. Sprinkle some chopped parsley or gremolata before serving.

How to quickly cook lamb ossobuco

  1. Take your lamb ossobuco out of the fridge. Remove from the vacuum packaging and pat dry any moisture. Allow it to come up to room temperature. 
  2. Heat a griddle or non-stick frying pan until smoking hot. 
  3. Just prior to cooking, rub a little oil and season the lamb ossobuco with coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper. A few bashed hard herbs such as rosemary and thyme would also be a welcome addition.
  4. Place your lamb ossobuco in the pan. Cook on each side for around 2-3 minutes until caramelised. Resist the urge to press down on the ossobuco – it will naturally release from the pan when a rich, golden crust has formed.
  5. Test the internal temperature with a meat thermometer if you have one. Aim for 57-59°C for medium.
  6. Remove your ossobuco lamb from the pan and rest in a warm place for a few minutes before serving.

Top tips

  • Lamb ossobuco is delicious served with mashed potato or rice.
  • You can also check if your lamb ossobuco is cooked to medium doneness by carrying out a quick and reliable finger test. Press the tip of your ring finger and your thumb together. The flesh beneath the thumb should give a little. This is what meat cooked to a medium doneness should feel like.

Lamb ossobuco recipes

Cook up George Ryle’s delicious lamb ossobuco recipe, kalamata olives & tomatoes w/ wet polenta, a tantalising twist on a classic Italian dish. With the richness of anchovy, the aroma of rosemary, and melt-in-the-mouth grass-fed lamb, this braised dish promises culinary satisfaction.