Little Big Pleasures

Living in the second most expensive city in the world after Tokyo, often I heemm and hummm when it comes to buying meat or seafood. So I often find myself in the meat section where cheaper cuts are sold. Ears, tongues, tails and legs (or shanks). After my experience in Lyon, I found that I have no love for ears and tongues but I can make do with tails and legs. After all Osso Buco is typically made with lamb or veal shanks. I can do one with beef shanks. Tougher means longer cooking time, right?

This osso buco is cooked in pretty much the same way as cooking a beef stew, though white wine is employed, instead of say.. beer or red wine. The meat is also browned in fats of pancetta, which I substitute with bacon. If you have a wide heavy-bottom pan, use that. It would reduce the time spent in browning the meat in batches.

This is so delicious. You can never see life the same way again knowing there are great pleasures in the cheaper cuts.

(adapted from Simply Recipes)
serve 3-4

50-70 gr bacon, diced
600 – 700 gr beef shanks
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
2/3 cup white wine
1-2 cups beef stock
Flour for dusting the meat before browning
Freshly ground black pepper


(adapted from Simply Recipes)

1 tbsp minced parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp lime juice

  • Rub the beef shanks with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • In a wide surface heavy-bottom pan (preferably with a cover), brown the bacon over low-medium fire. Fish the bacon out and set aside. If there’s not enough fats, add in olive oil or 1 tbsp butter.
  • Dredge the shanks with flour, shake off any excess flour and carefully lay on the pan. Increase the fire to medium-high and cook each sides till brown. Fish out the shanks and set aside.
  • Add in the onions, celery and carrots. Stir and cook till the onions have turned translucent and soft. Add in garlic and thyme, and stir well.
  • Add in the wine and scrape any grits sticking to the bottom. Add in the meat and the beef stock just until it’s about to cover the meat.
  • Cover the pan and let it cook for about 1.5 hr till meat is tender. From time to time, check the pot and stir a bit, add a little water if needed.
  • Serve with creamy polenta and top with gremolata.



  1. I always feel like a wonder woman whenever I manage to save a bit, even when it’s only 50 cents. Lol. I think I’ve visited all supermarkets here in Luanda and pretty much know the price of each single product. I’m short of typing them into excel sheet and making trend lines!

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