Osso bucco in red wine

File this under the category, “I can’t believe it took me so long to share this.” This is a dish we enjoy often, and is loved by everyone. I must confess the delay has been in capturing the photo. Because while it tastes amazing, it is also a very rustic dish and therefore tricky to make it look pretty.

I prefer to use beef osso bucco rather than veal as I prefer the richer flavour paired with red wine, but my sister-in-law makes an absolute knockout version using veal and white wine. The two finished dishes are actually different enough that apart from the cut of meat they have little in common apart from both being delicious.

I also like my polenta cheesy and creamy, so while it may start life as a healthy low fat accompaniment by the time butter and Parmesan have been added it’s not so healthy or low fat, but it is undeniably tasty. And with Sydney offering up a grey and wet August this makes for the perfect hearty Winter warmer.


  • 2 kg beef osso bucco
  • salt and pepper
  • plain flour
  • olive oil
  • one large onion, diced
  • two garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • fresh thyme, a few sprigs
  • two bay leaves
  • 500 ml dry red wine, such as Shiraz
  • 400 ml tomato passata
  • a tablespoon of tomato paste or concentrate
  • a teaspoon smoked paprika
  • approximately 300 g polenta {not the quick cook or instant variety}
  • 100 g butter, diced
  • about a handful of Parmesan, grated
  • fresh parsley
  • lemon rind

1. Pre heat the oven to 160 C. Begin by seasoning the pieces of osso bucco with a little salt and pepper on each side, then dust lightly in flour. Brown in a little olive oil in a fry pan on a high heat. Set each piece aside in a large baking dish that can hold all the osso bucco lying mostly flat. Continue to brown the osso bucco in batches. When you have browned all the osso bucco turn the heat down to a medium heat and saute the onion for a few minutes, then add the thyme and bay leaves and fry gently for a couple of minutes or so. Add the garlic and stir through for another minute.

2. Turn the heat up to high again, and deglaze the pan with the red wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the crusted bits from when you browned the osso bucco. Continue to cook on high until the alcohol evaporates, then add the tomato passata, paste, and paprika, as well as a little salt and pepper. Stir through and cook for a few minutes more.

3. Pour the sauce over the osso bucco pieces in the baking dish, and move them around so the sauce gets in underneath and all around each piece. Cover with foil and put it in the oven for about three hours. Check it from time to time, turning the pieces over about half way through. It’s ready when it falls off the bone and is soft enough to be cut with a spoon.

4. Make the polenta about half an hour before the osso bucco is ready to be served. For the polenta the quantity stated above is really only a rough guide, and to be honest we NEVER weigh or measure it out. But as a rule of thumb you want at least twice the amount of water to polenta. I would suggest you check the packet for instructions and cook it accordingly, and when it’s almost ready stir through the butter and cheese.

5. Finely chop the parsley and combine it with the grated lemon rind, and drizzle a little bit of olive oil over both to make your gremolata. Serve the osso bucco on top of the polenta and sprinkle some gremolata on top.

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