Curry Osso Buco with Roasted Cauliflower & Broccoli, garnished with Crunchy Snow Peas

If you hadn’t already noticed, I am quite the carnivore.  I loveeee meat, no matter the species.

Slow-braised meat on the bone is one of my favorite ways to eat it (next to eating it raw).  When I walked into the butcher’s yesterday afternoon, I was planning on picking up a couple of lamb shanks to braise in curry and served with roasted cauliflower.  Unfortunately, they were out of lamb shanks, but I was stuck on my original plan.

As an alternative, I asked for two veal shanks.  Osso Buco is like my favourite home-style meal.  It is the epitome of old school, traditional home cooking.  And this Indian twist to the original was actually really great.

Begin by heating up a saute pan (with high edges) and seasoning the meat.  Sear the shanks until they have a nice golden brown exterior.  In the meantime, dice one medium-sized onion, a carrot, and a stalk of celery.  Take the shanks out of the pan once seared and add the onions.  Turn the heat to medium to medium-low and allow the onions to sweat, let out some of their moisture, and deglaze the pan.  Once the onions have become translucent, add the diced celery and carrots and sweat with some butter.  Crush a couple cloves of garlic and add those as well.

Buy a curry paste from your local grocery store – whether it be mild of hot (i suggest a hot curry paste because the coconut milk in this particular recipe will cut the heat).  Add about two tablespoon of the curry paste, along with some curry powder, into the pan with the mirepoix.  Cook for a couple minutes before adding the coconut milk (1 can, from your local grocery store) plsu one cup of chicken or veal stock.  Place the veal shanks back into the pan, add a bay leaf or two, some freshly grated ginger, and salt & pepper.  Cover the braising pan and turn heat to low.  Slowly simmer on low, stirring every once in a while, for about 2 hours, or until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender.

To roast the cauliflower and broccoli, heat your oven to 425.  Drizzle the veg in a mix of olive oil and curry paste, and season with salt and pepper.  Throw in some garlic cloves, fresh thyme if you have it, and a couple bay leaves.  Roast until really nice and crispy and caramelized on the outside.  There is nothing better than a crispy, caramelized bite of cauliflower (trust me).

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Organic, Grain-fed Chicken Two Ways: Breast Stuffed with Caramelized Onions & Slow-Braised Legs

For many years now, I’ve cooked everyday of my life, whether it be professionally or personally.  I’ve never had the opportunity, however, to document my culinary adventures.  I’ve never owned a nice digital camera, or anything even close to it.  Any pictures I’ve ever taken of my food just didn’t do it justice.

This past week, I invested in a Canon Rebel t2i.  It was recommended to me by many photographers as one of the best entry DSLR cameras, taking professional grade photos, without being incredibly complicated like most professional DSLR cameras.

Long story short, the pictures Moira and I will be uploading from now on will be a whole lot nicer.

On to the food…

Last night I picked up this gorgeous-looking free-range, grain-fed, organically raised (bla bla bla) chicken and designed a tasty dinner around it.  Because the chicken itself was slightly outrageously priced ($17), I wanted to keep the rest of my costs down.  As such, I stuffed the breasts with caramelized onions (I always have onions in the pantry), braised the thighs and drumsticks with mirepoix, stock and wine, and used the carcass and bones to make a rich stock, which I used to make a parmesan risotto (parm also being a staple in my house).

Caramelizing onions is the easiest thing to do, and yet yields such a rich, tasty product.  It is slightly time-consuming, but well worth the patience.  Simply heat your pan, slice your onions (2 should be enough), and put them in the pan with about a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a couple tablespoons of butter and a pinch of salt and sugar.  Turn the heat to very low, cover, and let cook for at least 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat a stainless steel sauté pan.  Take the legs (which you have butchered yourself or asked your butcher to do), salt & pepper, and sear skin-side down in the skillet until golden brown.  Flip, sear for a couple more minutes, and deglaze with ½ cup of white wine and ½ cup of chicken stock.  Cover and put in a 350 degree oven until the chicken falls of the bone.

Once the onions have caramelized, add about half a cup of grated parmesan cheese and chill.  Slice the chicken breasts and stuff them with the caramelized onions as neatly as you can.

Heat a cast iron skillet and add about 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil.  Salt and pepper the stuffed breasts.  Sear the breast skin-side down in a very hot pan until it has a nice golden brown and crispy skin.  Flip over and place in oven (450 degrees preferred) until cooked through.

I served my chicken two ways on parmesan risotto.  I made chicken stock with the bones of the chicken and made a very simply risotto with shallots, onions, celery, thyme, white wine, and a whole bunch of parmesan and cold butter.