Based on the Milanese dish osso buco, this Slow Cooker Osso Buco stew is what I like to think of as “quietly Italian.” Unlike a basil-and-tomato based dish with bold flavors that punch you in the face like the Godfather, this stew is gentle, subtle, and smooth. It’s traditionally made with veal shanks, white wine, vegetables, herbs, and a little tomato. This version substitutes cubes of stew meat — and if you’d like, you can use beef instead of veal — but don’t skip the lemon zest and parsley as garnish! — Melissa Joulwan, author of Well Fed and paleo food blogger
For more great recipes like this one, visit meljoulwan.com.
If you like your stews a little thicker, like I do, you can simmer the stew uncovered in a soup pot for 10 minutes or so before serving. It also tastes amazingly good on days 2 and 3, so you might want to make it in advance of eating — and it freezes/defrosts like a champ.
- 2 Pounds boneless veal (or beef) stew meat, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 1 Tablespoon fat (ghee, coconut oil, etc.)
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch coins
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tomatoes, cut into 1-inch dice
- 2 Teaspoons dried thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 3/4 Cups chicken broth
- 3/4 Cups white wine
- minced fresh parsley, lemon zest, for garnish
Place meat in a large sealable bag. In a small bowl, mix salt, pepper, and arrowroot with a fork. Add the arrowroot to the bag and shake around the contents until the meat is evenly coated.
Heat a large, non-stick skillet, then add the fat. When it’s melted, add the meat and cook until it’s browned on all sides, about 5 to 6 minutes. You might need to do this in batches. As the meat cooks, remove it from the pan and place in the slow cooker.
If the pan is dry, add a little more fat, and then toss in the onion, carrot, and garlic. Sauté until golden and soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir to combine and cook until the tomatoes soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker.
Add the broth and wine to the slow cooker, cover, and cook until everything is tender: 4 to 6 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.
Discard bay leaves and ladle the osso buco stew into bowls. Top with minced parsley and lemon zest. You could also add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil for extra lusciousness.