Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. It is the awakening of all the plant life surrounding us, an indicator of warmer weather and longer days filled with more sunlight. With the spring bloom comes a bounty of fresh new produce and I look forward to the burst of greenery available after the winter months.
I lived in Italy for a year traveling from the south to the north working in small restaurants, wineries, with cheesemakers and in bakeries. I had the opportunity to start my culinary adventure in March when lamb are abundant and often prepared for family gatherings and holidays. I had not eaten much lamb before traveling to Italy that spring, but I quickly grew to love the flavor, tenderness and unique cuts I tried in the many different preparations. Every year as spring approaches I look forward to preparing lamb and fall back on some of the recipes I recorded during that exciting adventure.
In preparation for spring at Urban Plates, I wanted to use lamb as the center of our newest limited time dish. After carefully sourcing a sustainably raised grass-fed lamb and testing many cuts I landed on the shank, also known as “osso bucco” in Italian preparations. The inspiration for an osso bucco dish came from working in a small family owned restaurant in northern Italy where they slow cooked lamb in a wood fired oven with stock and spring vegetables.
Our Lamb Osso Bucco is made with a classic red wine sauce reduction infused with organic carrots, onion, celery, thyme, oregano, rosemary, lemon and bay leaf. Once the sauce has only a hint of acidity and the herbs have bloomed, we combine the bone-in lamb with our scratch-made chicken stock and the wine reduction sauce. We then slow cook everything until the lamb is spoon tender and almost falling off the bone. This slow and careful, yet simple preparation make this a hearty and delicious braise with a light bodied sauce. The Osso Bucco is served with our scratch-made mashed potatoes and topped with a mint gremolata – an Italian herb sauce made from fresh raw mint, lemon zest, garlic and a hint of spices. This bright green sauce adds a refreshing aspect to the whole dish and pairs perfectly with the earthy lamb.
I hope you enjoy this beautiful offering as a limited time addition to our menu at an affordable price for you and your family. Perhaps it can become your new tradition for the spring!