What’s Cooking on Race Day!
The second Formula 1 weekend of 2021-22 sees the championship move to Italy. Sunday is always race-day and for the cook today I did a smoked Ossobuco dish, served with Risotto alla Milanese (Risotto with Parmesan & Saffron).
What I love about doing these cooks is first, they take some research. I really enjoy that as I learn about different recipes and cuisines from around the world. Even when cooking from a country like Italy, where I think you know the cuisine well, it is apparent that I don’t. This then leads on to the second factor that makes these cooks so enjoyable. Taking a ‘traditional’ recipe and then trying to work out how to cook it outdoors and then giving it a go is brilliant fun.
Finally, I discover new companies/sources for the ingredients. The Veal Shanks for this came from The Dorset Meat Company (along with a few other goodies). I’ve been highly impressed with all the produce I have cooked from them to date. They work with 20 small, family-run farms and all their meat is 100% grass-fed. I’ll definitely be doing future shops with them.
Preparation and Cook
So let me start by saying my method for this cook was good but the timings were not where they should have been. Not a disaster by any means but this dish can be done in a much shorter time.
So the original plan was to smoke for 2 hours at 225°F with some cherry wood chunks. The plan was to get some great colour and smoke onto the Veal. This bit went really well. The plan was to then cover and braise for 3 hours but this length of time is really not required. Had the Veal been one solid piece (500g) I think the 3 hours might have been required but as I cooked 2 250g pieces I think I could have halved the braising time and still ended up with a lovely tasting dish.
Many of the recipes I research called to seal the meat before braising but I didn’t bother with this and went straight for the smoking and then braising, which worked great.
The Risotto took about 30-40 minutes to cook, which I did do inside. I did cold-smoke the Arborio Rice a couple of days before and it seemed to really take on the smoke. Had it not I would have attempted this in the Weber Wok. When I started cooking the rice there was a strong smoke smell and if anything I was a little worried that I had overdone it on the smoke. However, it didn’t really come through on the end dish. A couple of people have suggested smoking the water rather than the rice which is what I will try next time around.
I also think next time I will try to make a sauce reduction from the braising liquid as that could work really well.
I really enjoy both making and eating this dish. The Veal was incredibly tender and flavoursome and just fell away from the bone.
Ossobuco with Risotto alla Milanese
- Petromax Cast-Iron Dutch Over
- Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) 47cm
- Green Olive Restaurant Grade Charcoal
- Cherry Wood Chunks
- Thermapen MK4
- 130 g Pancetta (cubed)
- 2 250g Veal Shanks
- 1 Carrot (diced)
- 1 Onion (diced)
- 1 Celery Stick (diced)
- 4 Garlic Cloves (crushed)
- 1 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1 cup Red Wine
- 600 ml Chicken Stock
Risotto alla Milanese
- 2 Shallots (finely diced)
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 125 g Arborio Rice
- ½ cup White Wine (preferably dry)
- 400 ml Chicken Stock
- 1 tsp Saffron Threads
- 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Remove the Veal from the fridge roughly an hour before you want to start cooking and season with some salt and pepper.
- Get the smoker up to 225°F and then add your wood chunks. I used cherry for this cook (which is my favourite). I love the colour it gives meat.
- Smoke for 1½-2 hours. I did them for 2 hours and when I took the meat off to braise the temperature was at 145°F. They probed really tender even at this point.
- Whilst the Veal was braising I prepared the braising the liquid. In a Dutch Oven, add the Pancetta and cook until starting to crisp up. Remove from the Dutch Oven, and then add the Onions and cook for around 5 minutes (do not brown).
- Add the Carrots and Celery and cook for a further 2-3 minutes before adding the Garlic and Thyme continually stirring and mixing the ingredients together.
- Add the Pancetta back into the Dutch Over together with the wine. Finally, carefully lie the Veal into the braising liquid.
- Put the lid on the Dutch Oven and back onto the smoker at 225°F. Cook until the temperature gets to 193°F to 203°F. In this range, your meat is going to be very tender.
- Remove the Dutch Oven from the smoker and when you are ready dish-up. It doesn't have to be immediate as the food will stay warm in the Dutch Oven.
Risotto alla Milanese
- In a saucepan, cook the Shallots in the Olive Oil over medium heat until it’s translucent.
- Add the Arborio Rice and cook for 3 minutes, stirring the Shallots and Rice together. Add the Wine, the first couple of ladles of Chicken Stock, and the Saffron.
- Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring every minute or two, and then add another ladle of the stock and keep cooking, stirring, and adding the stock.
- When the Rice is ready, stir in half of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper and plate up. Add the other half of the cheese you held back and enjoy!!!