What’s for Sunday Dinner – Beef Shanks Osso Buco Style

Braised beef shanks, polenta, and carmelized parsnips w/ pancetta

My favorite Italian restaurant dinner is osso buco.  The big falling-off-the-bone piece of veal, the marrow, the pairing of risotto Milanese, it’s a big, heavy dish best saved for special occasions when dining out.  Because of the heartiness of it you don’t normally find it on menus in the summertime.  Like most braised meat dishes it’s a dinner for fall and winter.  I love making this at home.  It has an excellent wow factor and is pretty simple to make, like last week’s Sunday dinner.  Veal shanks can be pretty expensive but you can use this technique to turn any shanks into an “osso buco” dinner.

I used to like using whole lamb shanks, they were a pretty inexpensive cut, but lamb prices have definitely risen over the last couple years so I’ve been using beef shanks more.  They’re cross cut like the veal osso buco pieces so they work just as well.  You also get a lot more as beef shanks are bigger than veal.  So, you get more meat, at a lower price, and use the same method bringing delicious results.  No matter which meat you pick this recipe is great with a creamy polenta or risotto.  A good combination for a decadent dinner that will surely become a favorite in the house!


  • 2 beef shanks (between 1 – 1 ½ lbs each, the bigger the shank the longer you need to let it braise)
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 medium carrot finely diced
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 1 medium celery stalk finely diced
  • 1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 C dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Season your shanks well with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil and butter in an oven proof skillet/dutch oven.  Brown your shanks one at time in the pan.  When browned, remove and set aside.  Drain off excess oil.

Add carrot, celery, onion to still hot pan and brown, about 5 minutes.  Next add the tomatoes and 2 C of the white wine.  Bring to a boil.  Add the browned shanks and any juices released back into the pan.  Make sure the liquid in the pan covers the shanks.  If you need a little more, add some more wine or some water.

Cover pan with lid or aluminum foil and place in pre-heated oven.  Cook for 2 to 2 ½ hours.  Carefully remove shanks from pan and cover with foil.  Put pan on stove top on med-high heat and reduce sauce by half or desired consistency.  Plate the shanks and pour sauce over them to serve.  Enjoy!


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