Braised beef shanks are a warm, hearty winter treat. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

Osso bucco translates from the Italian as “bone with a hole,” not a prepossessing title for anything as rich as veal shank braised with vegetables.

Veal can cost so much that you might have to sell your family jewels to buy it. But there’s good news. There are other bones with holes often surrounded with plenty of meat and can be enhanced with carrots, celery, onion and garlic, all simmered with tomato sauce and wine.

Plus, the dish is quick and easier to assemble than the directions below make it sound.

Look for beef shanks with a solid ring of meat surrounding the bone. Flour them and brown them. Chop the vegetables and put half into a Dutch oven, slow cooker or instant pot, add a little wine, followed by the browned shanks and then topped with the rest of the vegetables.

Cook in the oven or cooker for two or three hours. If you have veal shanks, or lamb, this method works with those, too.

That’s it. We had mashed potatoes with ours. It warmed the very cockles of our hearts this cold week.

Braised Beef Shanks

Braised beef shanks are a warm, hearty winter treat. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

Olive oil

1-2 carrots

1-2 ribs of celery

1 large onion

2-3 cloves of garlic

White wine or water

Three to four shanks


Red wine or water

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a heavy bottomed pan or cooking pot, and place over a medium heat.

Chop the vegetables and cook, adding about a quarter cup of white wine, until they are just tender. Set aside about half of the vegetables.

In another pan, add olive oil to cover the bottom and heat until it shimmers.

Sprinkle flour on a plate and lay the shanks in it on both sides enough to coat the meat. Brown the shanks on both sides in the olive oil.

Take the browned shanks and lay them on top of the vegetables in the Dutch oven or cooker and top with the reserved vegetables.

Add a half a cup of red wine.

Cover and put into the oven. After 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 275 degrees and cook for two hours or until the meat is tender.

Serves three to four.

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...