Viennese Veal Shanks

You might call this "Austrian Osso Buco." It's a recipe my mother got when she and my father lived in Vienna as newlyweds. I serve it often as a cold-weather party dish, accompanied with boiled red-skin potatoes and sauerkraut or sweet-sour braised red cabbage. Tell your guests to come hungry! Prep: 35 minutes; Cook: 20 minutes; Bake: 2 hours.

Yield: Makes 6 servings
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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
  • 6 (1-inch-thick) veal shanks measuring about 4 inches across (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings (from about 6 slices of bacon)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into eighths
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 parsnips, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 large sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seed (optional)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine (such as Riesling)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish; thoroughly dredge veal shanks in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Heat drippings and butter in large Dutch oven 2 minutes over high heat, add 3 veal shanks, and brown each side 3 to 4 minutes; remove to baking sheet. Brown remaining veal shanks, and remove to baking sheet. Sauté onion and next 7 ingredients in drippings 5 minutes. Add broth and wine, deglaze by stirring to loosen particles from bottom of pan, and bring to a boil.
  2. 2. Return veal shanks to Dutch oven, and top with vegetables. Transfer to lower third of oven, cover, and bake 2 hours or until veal is fork-tender. Remove parsley sprigs and bay leaves, and add more salt and pepper, if desired.
  3. 3. Arrange veal on a heated baking sheet, and keep warm. Let vegetables cool slightly. Place one-fourth of vegetables and liquid in a blender, and add sour cream. Pulse 2 or 3 times, then blend 10 to 15 seconds or until smooth. Add salt, if desired.
  4. 4. Pool some vegetable puree on each of 6 heated dinner plates, and center a veal shank and vegetables on top. Serve remaining puree in a heated gravy boat.
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