Wednesday 27 April 2016

Natalie cooks

I'm so excited. I have a guest post this week. Natalie, who blogs on Natalie Thinks, offered to write this one. She is well qualified - to cook and to choose the wines - she runs a BnB in the beautiful Magaliesburg, which you can see here.

Enough from me, here's the cooking post, from Natalie. Enjoy, it's perfect for a holiday, especially one called Freedom Day!

Doing nothing but looking busy – Osso Bucco with Risotto

Do you feel like doing basically nothing for 45 minutes while drinking two glasses of wine? Of course you do!  Well my friend, Osso Bucco is the dish for you..
Traditionally made with veal shanks, this is an easy but slow cooked meal.  It’s an Italian (Milanese) dish and can also be done with Beef shin which makes it very affordable.  And that’s how it all started for me.  Have you seen that Woolworths sells their meat at 30% off when it’s reached its sell by date?  Mmm, Osso Bucco, I thought; I have never cooked it, but I have eaten it out a few times and it’s delicious, and I remember my Dad cooked it once, so how hard can it be?  Not hard at all, it turns out!
You can google several easy recipes, I used 
Basically you braise the meat, add onions, garlic, carrot and wine and then a tin of tomatoes and beef stock and simmer for an hour and a half – what could be easier?  Especially if you can get someone else to chop the onions and carrots.  I got my daughter to do that part.
So you see, you had to open a bottle of white wine (there are red wine versions if you prefer) to use 2/3 of a cup; mine looked like it needed a bit more to deglaze the pan, so I used a whole cup.  Which left basically two glasses to consume while I made the risotto.  Ok, if you’re young and child-free then maybe you can share the second glass with your partner.  
So your marrow boned meat is bubbling away in its juices, now you start your risotto, which is also super easy, just time-consuming, hence the wine and you know, pull up a stool to the stove if you need to. 

Simply fry two cups of risotto rice (Arborio) in a mixture of butter and olive oil and then slowly add vegetable or chicken stock until cooked.  The recipe is on the packet.  Yes you should start with chopped onions but we already have them in the Osso Bucco, so I settled for a teaspoon of crushed garlic.  Yes from a bottle, you don’t seriously think I’m going to do the whole peeling and chopping number?  But be my guest.  Once the rice is all coated in oil and garlic, you can add a half glass of wine to get it going.  Yes to the rice.  Of course you can have some!  Have a little pot of stock (use whatever stock you like) simmering next to your rice and then add one soup spoon at a time until absorbed.  Add, stir, add, stir, drink wine, 45 minutes, very mindless, very therapeutic.  Not for a week night, right? You don’t want kids around asking for help on homework.  Sunday night is good.
Your rice is ready when it’s no longer chalky to taste.  You can add a bit of cream, butter, lemon juice, parmesan, salt and pepper – whatever you fancy.  I added a bit of thyme but I usually only add those others when I serve the Risotto all by itself, but since this is just accompanying the shins with their own sauce I don’t think you need to get too fancy.  
Ideally Risotto should be served as soon as it’s done else it goes a little porridgy, but you know what?  This is not a five star restaurant!  So, when the rice is done, cover and turn off the heat and then when your osso bucco is almost falling off the bone, you can dish up and serve.  Mine was delicious!

And of course the wine reminded me of this old classic… 
Happy cooking and drinking, everyone.

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