Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Osso buco with white wine, lemon and creamy polenta.

37 degrees celsius here today and this is supposed to be a winter dish, but people eat fish and chips on the beach at the height of summer, so why not. Lighten it up with white wine and plenty of tangy lemon.

In a heavy pan, dredge four centre-cut veal shanks in seasoned flour, then brown them in oil and remove them to a large casserole dish. In the pan lightly fry a chopped onion, a diced carrot, a couple of diced celery stalks and one or two scored garlic cloves. Then pour the vegetables over the shanks. Add the zest and juice of a lemon, a cup of white wine, a can of diced or puréed tomato, and enough complementary stock to cover the contents of the casserole. Cover and bake in a moderate oven until meat falls of the bone.

I served this as a late dinner on a brooding summer night on the front deck, with thunder murmuring in the distance over Bass Strait. On the side, creamy polenta dusted with a shower of chopped parsley; but it would go equally well on turmeric-infused risotto or mashed potato flecked with garlic and shards of black olive.

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