I experienced a resurgence of that “fear of the butcher” feeling this weekend. It was my fault for leaving it to the last minute to get the veal for this recipe, so it was a valuable lesson learned.

I’d known that I was going to make it on Saturday (because of the recipe title) for ages, so why did I leave it until Friday to phone the butcher to order it?  This turned out to be an expensive mistake. On the phone, the nice man told me that he had osso buco (I vaguely knew what this was but not really) 

but he could cut it off the bone for me.  

I misunderstood what he said about the price and I didn’t realise I’d be paying for the bone too, and when the scales said £41 there was a sharp intake of breath on my part.  I’d been laughing at the way he’d thrown every little doggie that was brought into the shop a little titbit of meat to eat up to that point. So in hindsight, I am telling myself that the veal was worth it for the laughs.

He asked if I wanted to take away the bone for stock, which of course I did, as it probably accounted for at least 1/3 of the price because it was massive.  

But note to self and anyone else in this situation, I should have asked him to cut it into chunks. It only JUST fitted into the most massive pot I have, (the enormo slow cooker I bought for Helen Hayes’ Crockery Pot Leg of Lamb) and it’s better for getting all the good stuff out if it’s in smaller bits. It is 5 am as I write this, and the stock is halfway through its 24-hour cook.  I have no idea where I will keep all this stock (the freezer is heaving) but it had to be done.  I used this recipe as a guideline, which might prove useful should you make the same mistake I did.

And what of Michael’s recipe?  Well, it was easy to put together, and I Iiked the method of popping the plum tomatoes and lemon slices on top of the meat. I was worried there wouldn’t be enough liquid but actually, it was a very good stew. Plus, I loved the chicken livers that were in the mix.  A stew worth about £8 per portion?  Maybe.  

Here’s the recipe.  It will be going in the Cooking With The Detectives book with a warning about potential priciness!


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