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Slow Cooker “Osso Buco” Stew
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of slow cooker stews because I think they get too watery — but sometimes, like now, when we’re packing and traveling and generally FREAKING OUT IN A GOOD WAY about moving to Vermont, it’s nice to just toss some quality ingredients in the slow cooker and let it do its thing. I’m happy to report that a short simmer, uncovered in a stew pot, when this stew is finished cooking renders it thick and luscious. Yay for slow cooker hacks!
Based on the Milanese dish osso buco, this Slow Cooker Osso Buco stew is what I like to think of as “quietly Italian.” Unlike a basil-and-tomato based dish with bold flavors that punch you in the face like the Godfather, this stew is gentle, subtle, and smooth. It’s traditionally made with veal shanks, white wine, vegetables, herbs, and a little tomato. This version substitutes cubes of stew meat—and if you’d like, you can use beef instead of veal—but don’t skip the lemon zest and parsley as garnish!
Slow Cooker Osso Buco Stew
Serves 4-6 | Prep 35 min | Cook 4-6 or 8-10 hours | Whole30 compliant (see ingredient swap)
2 pounds boneless veal (or beef) stew meat, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon fat (ghee, coconut oil, etc.)
2 medium onions, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch coins
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 tomatoes, cut into 1-inch dice
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup white wine (Whole30 compliant: Replace wine w/ another 3/4 cup broth.)
minced fresh parsley, lemon zest
Place meat in a large ziplock bag. In a small bowl, mix salt, pepper, and arrowroot with a fork. Add the arrowroot to the bag and shake around the contents until the meat is evenly coated.
Heat a large, non-stick skillet, then add the fat. When it’s melted, add the meat and cook until it’s browned on all sides, about 5-6 minutes. You might need to do this in batches. As the meat cooks, remove it from the pan and place in the slow cooker.
If the pan is dry, add a little more fat, then toss in the onion, carrot, and garlic. Sauté until golden and soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir to combine and cook until the tomatoes soften, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker.
Add the broth and wine to the slow cooker, cover, and cook until everything is tender: 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.
Discard bay leaves and ladle the osso buco stew into bowls. Top with minced parsley and lemon zest. You could also add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil for extra lusciousness. NOTE: If you like your stews a little thicker, like I do, you can simmer the stew uncovered in a soup pot for 10 minutes or so before serving. It also tastes amazingly good on days 2 and 3, so you might want to make it in advance of eating — and it freezes/defrosts like a champ.
No slow cooker? No problem.
Follow all the instructions as above, but use a soup/stew pot in step #2. Then instead of transferring all the ingredients to the slow cooker, cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours. Remove the lid and simmer 10 minutes until slightly thickened.
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Noooo! You’re missing out on the lovely marrow when you don’t use shanks.
It sounds really, really delicious though.
I agree: the shanks are AWESOME! This is just a quickie, “emergency” version 😉
Just put in the slow cooker for tomorrow or Friday’s dinner, excited to wake up to the smell of Osso Buco in the morning! 🙂
I love osso bucco and I love marrow (ever since a kid).
This looks delish, and I want some now.
the osso bucco is all about the marrow.
This sounds excellent! I follow the autoimmune protocol–do you think this would be good if I just omit the tomatoes? It would be different, but still very tasty I’m guessing!
Yes! It should still taste great!
I am following AIP and just increase the vegetables to make up for the tomatoes. I also just learned that radishes are good in a stew like this.
Any suggestions on purchasing a slow cooker? I am going to make some bone broth possibly this recipe. Do you prefer digital or not digital?
I have this one, and I love it. Very reliable and easy to use.
WoW! I slow cooked it in the oven on low, in my le creuset… I don’t think i’ve ever made something that smelt better! and Oh WoW did it taste just as good. I thought I had carrots, but not enough, so i subbed squash.
Glad you enjoyed it! And good to know it works in the oven.
What temperature oven and for how long, please? I no longer own a crock pot.
Assemble the slow cooker recipe just as it calls for, but put the ingredients in a Dutch oven. Bake at 350 degrees for for an hour or 1 1/2 hours.
I just prepped this for tomorrow and smells so delicious already! Of course I exploded arrowroot flour all over myself and the kitchen. Typical Katie move.
I made this and it is freaking delicious!!! Thanks Mel!
I’m making this right now for the third or fourth time. It’s delicious! I brown the beef in duck fat and use beef broth instead of chicken broth/wine. I’ve also added a cut up sweet potato this time. Can’t wait to eat it! Great recipe!
Awesome! I’m so glad you like it — your mods sound delicious!
I am away at work (or commuting there and back) for 12 hours door to door, any chance this could cook that long without destroying it?
If it’s on low, it should be just fine. Slow cookers are pretty forgiving.
Hello 🙂 I’m about to start cooking and don’t have arrowroot. Can I substitute taro or gelatin? Thank you!
I’ve never used either of those, but I think they would work just fine. It’s just to thicken the sauce a bit.
Is there any other substitues for Arrowroot, never used before and don’t want to go out and buy if only for this recipe and what if my family doesn’t like. Please help, thanks you!
Arrowroot is a tasteless starch… you can just omit it. It’s used as a thickener in the stew, but the recipe will work fine without it, too. Just simmer uncovered for a few minutes if you want it thicker.
What could I use to substitute the arrowroot? Thanks!!
The arrowroot is used as a thickener because it’s starchy but paleo friendly. If you have tapioca flour/starch of potato flour/starch, that will also work. Otherwise, just omit it. The stew will be fine. Just simmer it uncovered for a while to help with thickening.
this was awesome. Hubby said it was the best stew he’d ever tasted (and I make a LOT of stews with the random cuts I get with our half-side of beef every 2 years!). Even good on day 6 (blush)
Don’t feel bad about day 6. This is me:
“I wonder how long this has been in here. I forget when I made it…”
“It smells OK. I’ll just bring it to a boil and eat it.”
Sounds like an excellent veal stew, but it’s not osso buco, which is made with a cross cut veal shank. It is a tough cut, which becomes tender and flavorful when braised. Osso buck in Italian means bone with hole. The bone and marrow are critical to osso buco.
Making this for the second time this week. Husband and I both really loved it the first time around – he pronounced it the second best thing I’d made in the slow cooker (Nom Nom Korean ribs getting first prize I’m afraid) but more importantly better than the Osso Bucco I was taught to make in cookery school in my pre paleo days! High praise indeed. I make it with the cross cut veal shank by the way in the more traditional style.
Is this recipe in any of your cookbooks? BTW…..this website has changed my life. Thank you for that.
This one hasn’t made it into a cookbook yet. I’m really glad you’re enjoying the recipes. Happy holidays to you!
I hope that “yet” means that there is another cookbook in the works!
I made this tonight. Both kids and husband couldn’t get enough…no leftovers unfortunately! Thanks for the recipe
Made this today with shanks + marrow bones…easy and delicious! I love using my slow cooker. Thank you!!
Oh wow, I just finished eating this and it was incredible! Served with your cauliflower mash-so tasty Just the thing to warm me up after a frosty walk.
I’m so happy you liked it! Nothing is better than a bowl of stew after a walk!