Recipe for poor man’s osso bucco: Transforming chuck roast into manna

poor man's osso bucco

It tastes better than my amateur photog skills

It’s now cliché to say that we’re all trying to save money, especially at the grocery store. $100 used to fill 3-4 (fabric) bags and now I sigh and glare into the 2 bags I trudge to my car. But it doesn’t have to be depressing — stretching the grocery budget has become a new, fervent game of transforming base, cheap groceries into ethereal food worthy of restaurant tables (which I don’t frequent as often either).

So when 7-bone chuck roast was on sale last week for $2.99/lb., I bought a 3-pound hunk with high hopes of culinary success. After some brainstorming, I dug out a recipe for veal osso bucco — one of my faves at Italian restaurants that costs around $30 a pop– and thought, if it can transform baby cow shins into something magical, why can’t I use the same philosophy for a tough, bony piece of its daddy? (I’m assuming I lost any and all vegetarians with that comment.)

This recipe could work with any other bone-in meat destined for braising but keep in mind, this isn’t a weeknight kind of dish — it’s a labor of gustatory love for a Saturday or Sunday. Estimated cost for a meal that serves 4-6 people = around $16.

Poor Man’s Osso Bucco

1 3-pound bone-in chuck roast
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
4-5 grinds of pepper mill or 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour or oat flour
1 tablespoon butter, divided
1 cup onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
2 uncooked bacon slices, diced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup beef broth
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (you can buy less expensive whole and then chop them too)
1 cup parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 fresh garlic clove, minced (resist the urge to use the jarred kind, fresh has more bite)


1. Cut roast into 6 pieces, cutting around the bone but leaving some meat intact on the bones. Sprinkle each piece with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and all of the pepper; dredge in flour on a plate.
2. Melt 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in a large, heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 3 of the roast pieces and cook for around 8 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove to a plate and add remaining butter to the pan and repeat with other pieces. Remove to the meat plate.
3. Add onions, carrots, celery and bacon to pan and saute 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add wine and cook until liquid almost evaporates, around 6-7 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, broth and tomatoes.
4. Return meat to pan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook 2 1/2 – 3 hours or until meat is tender. Taste for salt.
5. Combine parsley, lemon rind and garlic in a small bowl. Stir into osso bucco and cook 10 minutes.
6. Serve over mashed potatoes or polenta.

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