This week was Sheri's turn to select the recipe for the Sunday Slow Supper group to play with. She selected the category of 'other' and I was anxious to see what 'other' was. I thought that we had most possible categories selected but wouldn't you know it, there was one more that we hadn't though of.
Several years ago when my kids became interested in more than pizza,chicken fingers and Mac n Cheese, they used to watch the Food Network and print out recipes they wanted me to make. Of course it is not Osso Buco, but it is a really tasty dinner on a cold, wintry night. It is quick to put together and the ingredients are usually on hand. Since my family likes protein and they tend not to think of Soup as dinner, I usually double the amount of ground veal (making larger dumplings) and the egg noodles, while using 1 1/2 X the liquid. We especially love the Gremolata topping. This will easily serve 6 - 8.
The recipe that Sheri posted was Rachel Ray's Zuppa Osso Buco. Now apparently Rachel Ray has her own invented word (That. I. Shall. Not. Use.) for a soup that in her mind is heartier than a normal soup. In fact, in her mind it is a cross between a soup and a stew. In her mind this is a new category of food. In her mind she is eminently qualified to invent a new category of food to cover off this soup.
It's soup. It's good. It's quick. It is also the first Rachel Ray recipe that I have ever made. We LOVED it. I won't be racing out to make more Rachel Ray recipes nor shall I purchase her cookware.
In case you haven't picked up on it I don't much like Rachel Ray. Anyone that perky is either possessed, on drugs, or ill. Sometimes the TVs at the gym are turned to the food network and she pops onto the screen. I'm not diabetic but within 5 minutes I'm searching for insulin. Too cheerful and perky. When I'm sweating my ass of on the treadmill perky just won't do.
I also think that she is not a very good cook. She has no formal training, and it shows. For those of you who are interested her story can be read here. Now I'm not saying that you need to be a formally trained chef to know how to cook - because there are scads of brilliant cooks out there who never darkened the doors of le Cordon Bleu. However, if you're going to go on TV and teach others to cook some good formal chef techniques wouldn't hurt. Celebrity=chef . . . I will spare you my food network rant.
Anyway. I made a Rachel Ray recipe. It is Sheri's fault. As it turns out, We LOVED this recipe. SIGH I didn't want to but I did. It reminded me of my favourite Italian Wedding soup (without the greens). It was easy to make, tasted wonderful, and I would certainly make it again with minor modifications - as indicated in the recipe below).
Thanks Sheri for turning me on to this brilliant soup!
Zuppa Osso Buco
1 pound ground veal (I used ground chicken to lower the fat/calorie content)
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs, a couple of handfuls
1/4 cup, a generous handful, grated Parmigiano or Romano
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it
Coarse salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled
2 ribs celery and their greens
1 medium yellow skinned onion, peeled and halved
Coarse salt and pepper (I added no salt)
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine (I used 1 cup)
1 (14-ounce) can white beans, cannellini, drained
1 (15- ounce) can diced tomatoes in puree or coarsely ground tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock, available in re-sealable boxes on soup aisle (I used 4 cups of low-fat, and 50 % reduced sodium broth)
2 cups beef stock, available in 1 cup small boxes on soup aisle (I used 3 cups of low-fat, and 50 % reduced sodium broth)
1 cup egg pasta, broken egg fettuccini or medium egg noodles (I used fussili)
Gremolata: (NOTE - this is a classic topping for Osso Buco - the wonderful slowly cooked veal shank recipe from Milan)
2 cloves garlic, cracked away from skins
1 (2-ounce) tin flat fillet anchovies, drained
Handful flat-leaf parsley, about 1/4 cup loosely packed
1 lemon, zested
Crusty bread, to pass at table
Combine the veal and the next 5 ingredients then reserve mix and rinse off your hands. (some chopped garlic would ahve been nice in the 'dumplings' - would someone explain the difference between a dumpling and a meatball?)
Heat a medium soup pot over medium to medium-high heat. Begin to chop veggies while pot heats up: dice carrots into 1/4 inch pieces, chop celery and onion. Add extra-virgin olive oil to hot pot and carrots. Turn carrots to coat them in oil and add celery and onion as you get them chopped up. Work near the stove so you can chop, then drop into the pot. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and a bay leaf. Stir vegetables and cook 5 minutes to begin to soften. Do not let vegetables brown, reduce heat if necessary. (With classic cooking you want to really cook these down - this is where the floavour comes from. I cooked the veggies for about 15 minutes on a low heat.) Add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Next, add beans and tomatoes and stock to the pot. Put a lid on the pot and raise heat to high. When soup boils, about 3 minutes, add 1-inch balls of veal dumplings directly to the pot. When you are done adding the veal, stir in the egg noodles. (greens would have been good in the soup - I'd add a few cups of spinach, chopped kale, or arugula here)
Simmer stoup for 6 minutes to cook noodles and meat dumplings. Adjust seasonings and turn the heat off, then let stoup stand a couple of minutes.
Pile garlic, anchovies, parsley and lemon zest on a cutting board and finely chop the mixture, then transfer to a small dish.
Serve stoup in shallow bowls with a couple of teaspoonfuls of gremolata on top. Stir the gremolata throughout the stoup and pass crusty bread at the table for dipping and mopping.