The Surreal Gourmet

If you're looking for a way to spend the extra hour you'll gain this Sunday, try this classic Italian feast. By the Surreal Gourmet.

Published October 21, 1997 10:21AM (EDT)

Last April, I provided a time-saving recipe to help make up the hour of sleep we were robbed of when clocks were pushed forward for daylight savings time. Now it's payback time. This Sunday, you will be rewarded with 60 unencumbered minutes of free living. The question is, what to do with them? In the immortal words of Jon Bon Jovi, "You can sleep when your dead," so don't even consider rest an option. If you are a foodie (and I assume you are), the choice is simple.

When cooking isn't a chore, it can be a real pleasure. Without the pressures and time constraints of a weeknight dinner, the battleground you know as your kitchen can become a cozy place to share a drink with a friend or collect your thoughts while you slice and dice. Osso buco is a classic Italian meal made from a veal shank that stews in a combination of wine, stock and herbs. When cooked slowly, the meat should melt off the bone. The following recipe, a mish-mash of various recipes given to me over the years -- will make the most of your found time and provide you with a built-in excuse to open a nice bottle of wine. Members of PETA should consider some of my other time-saving options listed at the end of this recipe.

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(Serves 4)


2 tablespoons butter

3 carrots, peeled and chopped into half-inch pieces

3 parsnips, peeled and chopped into half-inch pieces

1 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 lemon, zested finely (use zest only)

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 center cut veal shanks (approximately 3 pounds)

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup dry white wine

1 1/2 cups chicken stock or veal stock

1 pound tomatoes, chopped, or drained canned tomatoes

1/4 cup fresh thyme, stems removed

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, stems removed, chopped fine

3 bay leaves

1. In a sauti pan, melt butter over medium-high heat and sauti carrots, parsnips, onion and celery for about 8 minutes -- or until tender. Add garlic and lemon and sauti for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. Rub veal shanks with salt and pepper, then pat down with flour.

4. Search your cabinets for a "Dutch oven," a very large cast iron skillet or any other large, deep, ovenproof pan. Over medium-high heat, warm oil. When oil is hot, brown flour-covered shanks on all sides (approximately 4 minutes per side).

5. When shanks are browned, pour out most of the oil and drippings, then add wine and bring to a boil. Add sautied veggies and stock. Allow contents to return to a boil.

6. Stir in tomatoes, thyme, parsley and bay leaves. Cover and transfer to oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours. Remove cover and cook for another 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves and serve.

Le Secret: Don't be hasty in step 4. Browning the shank seals in the juices and the flavor.

The Adventure Club: Make your own veal stock.

Suggested Accompaniment: Risotto

Music to Cook By: The Devlins "Waiting" Universal Records
I have the inside scoop on this newly released record because the band just crashed at my place while I was off in Bordeaux running a marathon. Check out the excellent CD or catch them when they open for Paula Cole. Remember, you heard it here first.

Other things to do in the kitchen for an hour

  • Roast several heads of garlic and use them all week long in pastas, salads, on pizzas or as a spread on bruschetta.

  • Make stock and freeze it.

  • Take that bottle of frozen vodka out of the freezer and make martinis with a friend. While you're at it, empty the rest of the freezer and defrost it.

  • Purge your kitchen cabinets of all accumulated containers. Trust me, this will make you feel good.

  • Watch my one hour special: "The Surreal Gourmet Plays With Food" on the Food Network (times listed below).

  • Bake a batch of sinful cookies.

  • Have sex.

By Bob Blumer

Bob Blumer (aka the Surreal Gourmet) hosts his own program on the Food Channel.
The Surreal Gourmet's Web Site is located at

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