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Osso Buco & Herby Dumplings from the Woodfired Oven

Apologies if you’re not in the UK or the northern hemisphere at the moment but this week’s recipe is perfect for these wet, grey, pretty chilly January days – comfort food at its best with an unctuous stew of osso buco with herby/cheesy dumplings on top and a zingy hit of zesty, garlicky gremolata. Heaven on a plate but maybe not if you’re in a southern hemisphere summer and in 30C heat.

We are using Osso Buco which is shin sliced across the limb with a little circular bone in the middle full of bone marrow which helps make the sauce thick and silky. We’re using venison osso buco which we got from our friends at Pipers Farm but traditionally it would be beef or veal; the venison is really delicious so do give it a try and you can also get pork and mutton osso buco as well. If you are having trouble finding it, use any of the other traditonal slow cooking pieces of meat like shin, stewing steak, oxtail, chuck; they all love long slow cooking in the falling heat of the woodfired oven.

The finished dish comes out of the oven 3-4 hours later and is rich and rib-sticking; we rustled up some herby dumplings to nestle in the top and a zesty fresh gremolata of lemon, garlic and parsley to really make the flavours sing.

The recipe is below and the video of David cooking it is on our youtube channel here – do leave us a big thumbs up and a comment if you like it; we love hearing from you.

Osso Buco & Herby Dumplings from the Woodfired Oven

Ingredients for 4-6

For the Osso Buco

1kg osso buco pieces – we used venison from Pipers Farm but beef or veal or pork or mutton are all delicious

50g butter

3tbsp olive oil

2 onions, peeled and finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

2 sticks celery, cut in half lengthways and then finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

50g plain flour

1tbsp tomato purée

250ml red grape juice

2tbsp red wine vinegar

400ml beef stock

1 bouquet garni of 2 bay leaves, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme all tied up with a piece of string

Salt & Pepper

For the dumplings

250g self raising flour

120g suet – meat or vegetarian

2tbsp chopped fresh parsley

50g grated Parmesan cheese

Pinch of salt

For the Gremolata

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

Finely grated zest 2 lemons

2tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Oven state, equipment etc

Oven at Mississippi 5 – less than 190C – with a bit of fire at first to brown the meat


  • Heat the oil and the butter in a large wide pan (make sure it will get through the oven door) and brown the pieces of osso buco. You’ll probably have to do this in batches. Keep the meat to one side once it’s browned up.
  • Add the chopped onion, carrot and celery with the first 2 crushed cloves of garlic. Cook them in the oven for a minute or so before adding the plain flour and the tomato purée. Stir well and put back in the oven for a minute to start cooking the flour.
  • Add the bouquet garni and the browned pieces of osso buco.Season well and stir in the grape juice & vinegar and enough stock to make a generous sauce covering the vegetables and most of the meat – add a little water if necessary as we did; it will depend very much on what pan you are using.
  • Put a lid on the pan and put back in the oven. Shut the door and leave it for 3 hours or until the meat is completely tender and falling off the bones.
  • Mix the self raising flour with the grated parmesan, the first 2tbsp chopped parsley and the suet and a pinch of salt. Add enough cold water to make a soft dough. Shape the dough on a flour work surface into a log about 5cm wide and cut the dough into 8-12 pieces. Shape the pieces into rounds and plonk on the top of the stew – the liquid wants to be gently bubbling so boost the fire with small pieces of wood to raise the temperature if you need to.
  • Put the lid back on the pan and put in the oven with the door shut for 20 minutes. After this time, take the lid off and let the top of the dumplings dry out for another 10 minutes with the door of the oven shut.
  • Mix together the second 2tbsp of chopped parsley, the 2nd lot of crushed garlic and the lemon zest to make the gremolata just by mixxing them altogether. When the dumplings are cooked and well risen, sprinkle the gremolata over the top of the osso buco and serve at once.


  • Use beef or veal osso buco instead of venison
  • Use red wine instead of grape juice
  • Use chicken or veal or game stock instead of beef stock
  • Vary the cheese you use in the dumplings
  • Use orange zest instead of lemon zest in the gremolata

Wine suggestion

How about a big gutsy red like an Australian Shiraz or a full bodies Chateauneuf du Pape. Cheers!