Osso Bucco; the Stairs, Part deux

Our workers arrived Wednesday morning, 8am sharp (white van).

About 10 minutes later the stairs arrived (blue truck).

Naturally, the first order of business was to stand around for 15 minutes or so and catch up on the news.

It turns out that the guy who brought the stairs, (white hair, nearest the truck) had been born in this house.


As had his father before him.

A discussion ensued as to the age of the current iteration of the house.

Conclusion: no one knew, but it must be really old (Might I say ‘Duh’).

Then, of course we had to show him what we had done and describe what we were going to be doing next.

We discovered that we were installing the stairs in what used to be his bedroom.

Finally, he opened the truck.


Naturally, the second order of business was to admire them and discuss how to get them in the house.


He then produced the tiniest ‘dolly’ I have ever seen.

I foolishly thought they would carry them in; not knowing how much an oak staircase for a 10′ high ceiling weighs.

Thankfully, they knew what they were doing.


More discussion as to how to get it through 2 doorways…..

Finally, it was in the hall, the sawhorses were in place and the question was asked:

Which side did I want up ‘au-dessous’ or ‘au-dessus’?

The words mean underneath and above, respectively.

In case you can’t tell by looking, they sound only very slightly different.

Think of the difference to an untrained ear between what and watt.

Or higher and hire; loose and lose; flaw and floor; clothes and close.

There is a definite, but subtle, difference.

I can hear it…..

But, do you think I can wrap my mouth around the difference enough to make them hear it when I say it?

Fortunately, they have a great sense of humor…. It sounded a bit like a French version of Who’s on First for a bit while we made each other understood.

The underside is up so mon mari can stain and varnish it before they install it on Monday.

And why, you might ask, did they bring it on Wednesday but won’t install it until Monday?

Because we had to spend yesterday in Bordeaux at the hospital for some scheduled tests.  No worries, we think he passed.

They did get the hole done on the upper floor and the Velux window installed…. so work was done!

And I did this….

Osso Bucco

Something else I’ve never made before…..

Where have I been?

Braised Veal Shanks, another Italian classic with as many variations as there are cooks: some have a light, lemon sauce; some a heavy tomato. This is a light vegetable sauce.

Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco

2 – 4 nice size veal shanks
1 medium leek, 1 cup chopped
1 medium carrot, 3/4 cup chopped
1 rib celery, 3/4 cup chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil
3/4 cup (6oz, 175gr) white wine
1/2 cup (4oz, 120gr) beef broth
2 cups (15oz, 450gr) chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried sage
1 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs water

Trim and wash the leek, Roughly chop. Finely chop the carrot and celery. Mince the garlic. Heat the oil in a heavy Dutch oven or deep skillet. Add the leek, carrot, celery, garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Move vegetables to the side. Add veal and brown on both sides, about 7 minutes total. Add wine, broth, tomatoes and herbs. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 60 minutes (or longer).

When ready to serve: Remove veal and cover to keep warm. Dissolve cornstarch in water. Turn the heat to medium-high under the sauce. Stir in the cornstarch mixture until sauce is thickened and no longer cloudy. Spoon sauce over the veal shanks and serve.

In addition to this, for the weekly menu for October 30 we have Carrot Timbales, Scallops, Tuna and Chevre Lasagne, Meat Balls, Winter Rice Pilaf…

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8 thoughts on “Osso Bucco; the Stairs, Part deux”

  1. Oh my goodness Katie, I was just thinking about making Osso Bucco and wondering where I could find Veal Shanks around here. I will have to drive to The Fresh Market in Hendersonville, about 30 minutes away. Your dish look wonderful. The stairs look great too. Our house is getting more complete day by day as I see your’s is. I picture you snug and warm for the Winter with all of your kitchen appliances working and wood stove lit. Plus access to the upstairs! This Winter will be better than last.

  2. Too wild about the stair guy’s old bedroom being the room the stairs are being installed in! Just too strange. I remember last summer you wrote about the history of the house. Was this guy part of what you wrote?
    The Osso Bucco looks yummy. I’ve currently got Piggs Petitoes going in my slow cooker, left over from the Ren Party we went to today. The reenactors all had some but the kids were too freaked out to eat the pigs’ feet. 🙂 And I’ve found they are made very much the same in many parts of Europe still.

  3. You will need all the comforting dishes possible just like this to make up for all of the renovations of the past year Katie. We will join you virtually with a bottle of red.

  4. How crazy that stair delivery guy lived in your house!! I love the description of all the polite discussion that had to precede any work… Staircase looks fab, and yes, yes, yes to ossobucco!

  5. ‘au-dessous’ or ‘au-dessus’ still gives me nightmares. Just. Can’t. Quite. Make. My. Minnesota. Mouth. Do. It.
    We don’t do vowels-other-than-schwa very well, I guess.
    The stairs make me wish we owned a two-story just so we could have something so awesome in our house. And your recipe lets me know we can.

  6. I use red wine in my osso bucco-one of my favorite meals-and cook it in the oven for a good two hours so it is tender. I also make that special mixture-can’t remember the name-of minced garlic, parsley and lemon zest to sprinkle on top. Heaven. I think I’ll go buy some veal shanks.

  7. Penny, you live near Hendersonville? My brother lives down there… Isn’t it wonderful to see things starting to get finished.
    Tracy, I have to admit I’m not big on feet myself, although they are always in the store – right next to the ears….
    Val, I have been craving comfort food…..
    Cindy, Yes, thank heaven indeed…. it was a long summer ;-))
    Jeanne, French country can be very, um, close….
    Amerloc, I think I pronounce it right – but only in my mind hehehe…
    Linda, I would normally have used red, but, this sounded good…. I think I may have to make this often and experiment….

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