This is one of those dishes that is perfect for entertaining.  You can make it ahead and let it cook all day.  Keep it warm in the slow cooker and enjoy your company.  It is delicious and very impressive!!  Be prepared for leftovers, as the portions are large.  You can serve this over white or yellow rice or parmesan risotto!  If you can go to a good meat market, ask the butcher for veal shanks cut cross-wise with as much meat on them as possible.  A good side vegetable would be haricots verts (French green beans)!

IMG_0881Serves 4  (Can double for 8)


  • 4 veal shanks (or pork shanks) (3 to 4 lbs.)– About 1 lb. each and 1 1/2 to 2 in. thick
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 med. red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 C good white wine such as a Chardonnay (If you can’t drink it by itself, don’t use it)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 C crushed tomatos
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme

GREMOLATA (garnish)                                                          IMG_5456

  • 3 T finely chopped parsley
  • 1 T finely grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced


Generously season shanks with salt & pepper.  Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium high head and add the shanks.  Brown on all sides and remove from pan.  (Usually takes about 10 minutes).

Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté until the onion softens (about 4 min.).  Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan.  Now add the carrot, celery, tomatoes, broth, oregano, and thyme, and bring to a boil.

Transfer the shanks to the bottom of a slow cooker, then pour the broth/vegetables mixture over the top.  Cover and cook until veal shanks are tender–about 6-7  hours on low.   Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine parsley, garlic and lemon zest (2 lemons to make 2 T zest) to make a gremolata.   (Place the leftover lemons is a plastic bag after zesting, refrigerate for later use)   When Osso Buco is ready, get a large spoon and spoon out as much grease as you can from the top and discard.

Serve the shanks on top of the creamy polenta and sprinkle with the gremolata. (Remove shanks with a spatula to keep in tack)


  • 3 C chicken broth
  • 1 C polenta
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 lb. Brie, Camembert, or Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large, covered baking dish, mix together broth, polenta, and salt. Cover, and bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove polenta from the oven, cut the cheese into cubes after removing any rind, and stir into polenta until completely melted.

Return polenta to oven for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered, until slightly browned and bubbly.

Note:  Polenta is also known as “Italian Grits”, so if you can’t find polenta, you can use old fashion grits!

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