Cooking Classes


Veal Osso Buco with Burnt Orange and Campari

From time to time I am reminded that people do read my blog. I do have followers. And to them I send my sincere apologies for being so inconsistent in posting. I struggle with time management. The farmers' market is over for the season but I continue to do lots of cooking even if it doesn't appear here.  I am always recipe testing for the Western Producer articles but my day to day cooking at the moment tends to be sporadic and uninspired.

Today I find my inspiration in one of my earlier cooking classes from November, 1996 at The Cookbook Company in Calgary. I remember the date because I bought the cookbook and inscribed the details inside the front cover. A man who became one of my favourite chefs prepared the meal that evening in a 'kitchen come cavern' in the basement of the popular cooking shop. I loved that space and wonder how it is used today. Classes are now in a larger main floor kitchen with natural light streaming highlighting crystals in the granite counters. It is bright, spacious and more of a kitchen than a dining room.

John Bishop, chef and owner of the perennially popular Bishop's Restaurant in Vancouver, was the presenter. This, taken from his restaurant website, sums up his persona perfectly ...

"Thoughtful, sincere and unassuming yet an unswerving perfectionist. John is a consummate host who in 22 years of business, has placed his brand of understated West Coast cuisine firmly on the map."
Tim Pawsey, Northwest Palate Magazine

Still after all these years he stands tall among chefs and he mentors new and experienced chefs alike.  

I have not made this recipe in a long, long time. A bottle of Campari in my cold room, beautiful veal shanks in my freezer and oranges in my refrigerator tell me it is about time I fill my kitchen with these warm aromas on this shivery cold autumn day.

Campari is generally associated with a thirst quenching summer cocktail. Its bittersweet herbal flavour is an acquired taste. A traditional pairing is orange juice so it does not surprise me at all to find oranges in this recipe. Carmelizing the orange slices layers on more complex flavours.
Serve over risotto with pan juices.

Veal shank is a less tender cut and requires long, moist cooking. If you have the time, do it this way. If time is not available a pressure cooker prepares perfectly good results. This can be served with a pasta such as fettuccine or a lentil ragout but the traditional Risotto alla Milanese is still my favourite.

Veal demi-glace is impossible to come by in a small town and making it is just about as impossible due to the scarcity of veal bones. Veal in any form is not readily available. The demi-glace is essentially a veal stock made in a traditional way and reduced to produce a more concentrated stock. I simply substitute more chicken stock.

And do not let the bone marrow find its way to the garbage. Dig it out with a little fork or knife and slather it on crusty bread for an additional treat.

Veal Osso Buco with Burnt Orange and Campari
adapted from Bishop's the cookbook

4 lbs. veal shanks, cut 1 1/2 inches thick
1 orange
1 c. red onions, finely diced
1 c. carrots, finely diced
1 c. celery, finely diced
4 garlic cloves
2 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves
3 1/2 oz. Campari
2 c. veal demi-glace
1 c. chicken stock

Preheat oven to 350 F. Use a sharp knife to score the outside of the veal shanks, to help stop the meat from curling up while cooking.

Place the shanks in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Remove the shanks from the water and arrange in a roasting pan.

Slice the orange and sear in a hot frying pan, until golden in colour. Cover the blanched shanks with the orange slices, diced vegetables, garlic and rosemary. Pour the Campari over top.

In a saucepan, combine the demi-glace and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Pour over the shanks.
Cover the roasting pan with foil and place in the oven for 80 minutes.

To serve, place the veal shanks and sauce in large soup plates or bowls. This can also be served plated with risotto.


  1. I can't find veal of any sort around here.

    1. It's frustrating isn't it? I have to pick it up when I am in the city. I think lamb shanks would work well but they aren't any easier to source where I live.

  2. Soinds really good..I always just do the usual gremolata..Love this new twist.

    1. Gremolata would be nice, too. I have never done that. Next time.


I appreciate your comment! Please visit often.