I came across the recipe for the osso bucco component of this in a recent delicious. magazine. The meat was prepared as I have written here and was topped with an orange zest gremolata and served with regular coss cous. I liked the idea of the ingredients used to flavour the sauce and the slow cooking component, but I wanted to make it an altogether lighter meal. To do this, I made the cous cous out of cauliflower instead of pasta and added freshness, lightness and texture to it with the additions of fresh herbs, lemon zest and toasted almonds. The result was superb – totally warming on this chilly night, but no heaviness after.
Middle Eastern Osso Bucco with Fragrant Cauliflower Cous Cous
4 beef osso bucco
2 tbspn plain flour, seasoned with salt & pepper
3 tbspn olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 cinammon quill
400g tin crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
1.5 cups beef stock
1 cup red wine
zest of 1 lemon
4 sage leaves, finely shredded
1/4 cup flaked almonds or chopped pistachios
pinch of salt
4 tbspn parsley, chopped
4 tbspn mint, chopped
1 tbspn olive oil
Preheat the oven to 160C. Dust meat in flour, shaking off excess. Heat 2 tbspn olive oil in a casserole dish over high heat and cook the meat, turning, for 8 minutes or until well browned. Transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to medium, add remaining 1 tbspn of oil and cook onion, carrot, celery and cinnamon, scraping the bottom of the pan and stirring, for 6-8 minutes until softened. Add the tomato and cook for 2 minutes, then add the pomegranate molasses, stock and wine, and bring to a simmer. Return the meat to the casserole dish, ensuring it is covered in the liquid. Cover the surface with baking paper then cover with a lid and bake for 2 hours or until very tender.
For the cauliflower cous cous, cut the cauliflower into pieces and pulse in a food processor until it is crumb-like (you may have to do this in batches). In a large non stick fry pan, toss the flaked almonds or pistachios and sage leaves and set aside. Add a tbspn of oil and toss the cauliflower in the oiled pan until it is golden (you will have to do this in batches and have a little patience. Alternatively, place the cauliflower on two baking trays, spray with oil and bake in a moderate over for about 20-30 minutes or until golden). Once all the cauliflower is cooked, add the lemon zest, sage, nuts, parsley, mint and salt and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
To serve, make a bed of cauliflower cous cous and spoon over the osso bucco and sauce. Serve with the red wine you opened for the sauce!
If you have any left over cauliflower cous cous, it makes a fabulous lunch the next day tossed in a hot oiled pan with some harrisa and shredded kale, and then a fried egg on top.