Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Counting time, waiting

I keep getting distracted in the kitchen by more interesting things, like, for example, my mortgage broker calling to tell me that our bank is totally sold on the house and has approved my home loan. (Huzzah!) So then I call Ant, and my mum, and my dad, and completely forget about what I was doing in the kitchen. Fortunately, recently I've been cooking the sorts of things that are made better by neglect - for example, osso bucco. In this spirit, allow me to present my recipe for osso bucco from my upcoming book (ha), The Inattentive Cook.

Osso bucco alla Hayley

An onion
A carrot
A couple sticks of celery
A can of tomatoes
A bay leaf (but you forgot to buy this at the shop, so don't worry about it)
Four osso bucco rounds (ask the cute butcher and he will cut them up for you. Also pick up a pork rump roast while you're there, which he will also have to cut for you. Refer to this as art, which makes him mumble and ensures excellent service in future.)
Some herbs and whatnot
Olive oil

Chop the onion, carrot and celery into little cubes. And the garlic. Yeah, I didn't mention garlic earlier, did I? That's the spirit of this book. You probably have some. If you don't, whatever. Heat your olive oil over a medium burner in the awesome cast iron pot your daddy gave you for your birthday.

Add the chopped veggies, season with some salt and pepper, and stir them around until they're softish. They can brown up if you remember that you wanted to set the DVR for Inspector Rex and wander off for a bit. That's cool. Once you're done, come back and push them to the side. Brown the osso bucco pieces for 30 seconds or so on each side. Add the can of tomatoes and stir it all so everything's mingling. Add a splash of red wine or whatever you have handy. White is fine, rose would probably work. Who knows? I think sherry would be bad, though. Add a bit of water or stock so that the meat is nearly covered.

Turn the heat down as low as you can, put a lid on and go have a bath/nap/read a book/do some yoga/watch last year's Eurovision for three hours. Or whatever. This dish is vastly improved by being forgotten.

When you come back, take the lid off, take out the meat and up the heat so the sauce reduces a bit. You can mash the chunky bits against the side of the pot if it takes your fancy. You can even puree it with a stick blender, though that would take more effort than the average reader I have in mind is willing to part with. Chop up your herbs (parsley or basil are probably best but whatever you have handy, except maybe coriander) and stir through the sauce.

Plate the meat, spoon over the sauce, and serve with no-knead bread for that extra "I barely tried and look how good this is" street cred.

Also in this series: the aforementioned no-knead bread, slow-cooked pork, cassoulet, twice-baked potatoes, chicken cacciatore, French onion soup. I'm on a winner here, except that there aren't many desserts than can be abandoned. Icecream a la mode? Leftover Plum Pudding From Last Christmas That I Just Found In The Back Of The Freezer? Yeah, the dessert section needs work.