Veal is the traditional beast from which to cut an ossobuco, but it actually works wonderfully well with lamb and, in particular, in this braise with its great friends anchovy, rosemary, and black olives.
This dish sounds good, an easy checklist of quality ingredients that we all know go well together, but it is not until you actually eat it that you get to grips with just how delicious it is. It is crucial that you use a good-quality olive for this. The flavour that the olives lend to the braise is a crucial part of the recipe, and bad olives will simply not suffice. Spend an extra few bob and get something that is going to do this dish justice — I promise you won’t regret it.
Lamb ossobuco, black olives, rosemary & tomatoes w/ wet polenta
Serves 2 (hungry people)
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 sticks of celery, washed and diced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
6 anchovy fillets
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tin of peeled plum tomatoes
250ml red wine
100g black olives, drained
- For the polenta
75g coarse polenta
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
50g parmesan cheese, grated
- First, the braise:
- You will need a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Place it over a medium heat, with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the ossobuco with salt and then begin to brown them off on both sides in the pan. Once browned, remove and set to one side.
- Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, plus a good pinch of salt. Sweat off the vegetables over a medium heat, stirring regularly for about 20 minutes. Until they are well softened and just beginning to colour lightly.
- Add the anchovies and red wine and bring to a boil. Then return the ossobuco along with the tomatoes, stock, black olives, and rosemary.
- Let the pot return to a simmer and maintain a gentle bubble over a low heat for about 2 hours with the lid slightly ajar, stirring delicately at 20 minute intervals so as not to break up the meat.
- After 2 hours, the lamb should be cooked and the sauce beautifully rich and reduced. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. If you think the sauce needs a little further reduction, then simply remove the lamb and allow it to bubble away for a little longer.
- While that is cooking, begin with the polenta:
- Bring the water and olive oil to a boil. Season with a pinch of salt, and then pour in the polenta, whisking as you go. The whisking will prevent the polenta from forming any lumps.
- Immediately turn the pot down to the lowest heat possible and cook like this for about 40 minutes. Stirring very regularly.
- Add the butter and parmesan and stir as they rapidly melt into the pot, instantly enriching the polenta.
- Check the seasoning and consistency and adjust if necessary. Be careful as it will be molten hot. A little splash of water can be used to loosen it.
- Serve very quickly, as if allowed to cool, polenta can very quickly resemble cement!