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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Jarret de Veau. The Dish Called Osso Buco in Italian. In France Jarret is Also a Cut Used for Many Other Dishes Made With Veal, Beef, Lamb and Pork.

Jarret de Veau – Osso Buco.
Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman 
Last updated February 2017. 

Osso Buco.
Photograph courtesy of stu_spivak.
The jarret is a cut from a shin or shank of veal; the cut is across the bone and below the knee; the meat on a veal shank surrounds the bone.  Osso buco or jarret de veau is the same cut whether in Italian on French; however,  arguments over the vegetables and herbs used and how they are prepared will go on forever.  The most important part of this dish is the center bone; it is a marrow bone and will provide much of the flavor and texture to the dish.
Photograph by courtesy of World to Table.
Under its French name jarret de veau or the dish’s Italian name osso buco and whether prepared in Italy, or in France, this is a dish that must be cooked very, very slowly to absorb all the flavors.

The cut for Jarret de Veau.
The marrow bone in the center will provide a great deal of the flavor and texture.
Photograph by courtesy of Artizone.
The meat along with the white wine will have been braised together for hours with the bone marrow adding its special magic. With a well-prepared osso you encounter on the first bite a taste of the veal that will practically melt on your tongue; the combined flavors of the other ingredients will providing a symphony of complementary tastes. Whether in France, Italy or elsewhere well-trained chefs show their skills through a veal osso buco that keeps the customers returning.
For a veal osso buco, chefs may argue about the white wine used, how the vegetables are prepared, how much garlic and parsley is to be added and more.  However,  I write as a diner, not as a chef,  and when you taste the gravy that the dish has created you will see how the chef has balanced the white wine, veal stock, olive oil, onions and garlic with the flavor and texture of the veal marrow. 
A serving of a jarret de veau may vary greatly in size.  A calf just weaned will provide the softest meat; however, I prefer a slightly older animal that will provide more taste and, of equal importance, a larger portion.   In Italian, the name osso buco just means a bone with a hole, and that all that is left when you have been served a well-made jarret de veau. 

N.B. Occasionally a French menu will translate jarret de veau into English as a veal knuckle, which it is not.
In France the cut called a jarret, the veal shank with the bone left in is used for much more than the French version of osso buco.

A double serving of jarret de veau.... Rarely seen.
Photograph by courtesy of  Kitchen Butterfly. 
Your menu may also offer:
Jarret de Veau Rôti à la Sauge et aux Girolles – A veal shank braised together with sage and served with girolle chanterelle mushrooms.
Jarret de Veau Confit 12 Heures au Vin Blanc et Romarin -  A veal shank slowly cooked for over 12 hours in white wine and rosemary.  The veal confit may melt on your tongue.

Jarret de Boeuf. The same cut as a jarret de veau but the meat is beef, not veal.

Jarret de Bœuf Fondant, Sauce Ravigote  On this menu listing the beef shank has been cooked so slowly that the chef says it is melting; if it is cooked slowly and well,  for a long time, it should practically melt on your tongue. The dish offered here is served with a Sauce Ravigote which is a popular sauce, in France, for a dish like this; it has vinaigrette base thickened with added mustard, eggs, olive oil and herbs.

Jarret de Bœuf aux Fruits Secs (Abricots et Pruneaux)  - A beef shank slowly cooked with dried fruits, apricots, and prunes.

French menus may offer a jarret d’agneau, or an  osso buco d'agneau. This is the same cut, but from a leg of lamb.

Jarret d'Agneau Braisé à l'Ail et au Romarin - Lamb shank slowly braised with garlic and rosemary.  Although this menu listing does not mention the wine, when lamb shanks are braised like this, it is usually with a red wine.

Jarret d'Agneau Braisé et Pommes de Terre Façon Salardaise.  Lamb shank slowly braised, and served with potatoes prepared in the manner of the town of Sarlat.  Pommes de Terre Sarladaises are potatoes, thinly sliced, and fried in duck fat while flavored with garlic and parsley. When served these potatoes should be crisp on the outside and soft inside; at their best, they are exchangeable for the ambrosia of the gods. Nearly all dishes with Sarladaise in the name will also have some connection to ducks and or geese. The town of Sarlat is in the département of Dordogne in Aquitaine and famous for its ducks, especially its duck foie gras. When you visit Sarlat will see that for frying the preferred fat, should I say the only fat, is duck fat.

Jarret de Porc – A pork shank.
Jarret de Porc Doré à la Broche, Jus de Viande – A pork shank cooked on a spit until golden and served with its natural cooking juices.
Jarret de Porc - A pork shank with the bone left in.
Here the pork shank is cooked like the traditional veal shank.
Photograph courtesy of  Ly. H.
Finally; on one strange French menu I saw a listing that offered an osso buco de dinde, a turkey osso buco!  That seems a long way from what the creator, whoever, he or she was, intended. Probably we shall not have to wait long before there is a vegetarian osso buco, as well.
Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2014. 2017.
For information on the unpublished book behind this post contact Bryan Newman

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