Slow Cooker “Osso Buco” Stew

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of slow cooker stews because I think they get too watery — but sometimes, like now, when we’re packing and traveling and generally FREAKING OUT IN A GOOD WAY about moving to Vermont, it’s nice to just toss some quality ingredients in the slow cooker and let it do its thing. I’m happy to report that a short simmer, uncovered in a stew pot, when this stew is finished cooking renders it thick and luscious. Yay for slow cooker hacks!

Based on the Milanese dish osso buco, this Slow Cooker Osso Buco stew is what I like to think of as “quietly Italian.” Unlike a basil-and-tomato based dish with bold flavors that punch you in the face like the Godfather, this stew is gentle, subtle, and smooth. It’s traditionally made with veal shanks, white wine, vegetables, herbs, and a little tomato. This version substitutes cubes of stew meat — and if you’d like, you can use beef instead of veal — but don’t skip the lemon zest and parsley as garnish!

osso buco stew

Slow Cooker Osso Buco Stew

Serves 4-6 | Prep 35 min | Cook 4-6 or 8-10 hours | Whole30 compliant (see ingredient swap)

2  pounds boneless veal (or beef) stew meat, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon fat (ghee, coconut oil, etc.)
2 medium onions, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch coins
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 tomatoes, cut into 1-inch dice
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup white wine (Whole30 compliant: Replace wine w/ another 3/4 cup broth.)

garnish: minced fresh parsley, lemon zest

1. Place meat in a large ziplock bag. In a small bowl, mix salt, pepper, and arrowroot with a fork. Add the arrowroot to the bag and shake around the contents until the meat is evenly coated.

2. Heat a large, non-stick skillet, then add the fat. When it’s melted, add the meat and cook until it’s browned on all sides, about 5-6 minutes. You might need to do this in batches. As the meat cooks, remove it from the pan and place in the slow cooker.

3. If the pan is dry, add a little more fat, then toss in the onion, carrot, and garlic. Sauté until golden and soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir to combine and cook until the tomatoes soften, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker.

4. Add the broth and wine to the slow cooker, cover, and cook until everything is tender: 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.

5. Discard bay leaves and ladle the osso buco stew into bowls. Top with minced parsley and lemon zest. You could also add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil for extra lusciousness. NOTE: If you like your stews a little thicker, like I do, you can simmer the stew uncovered in a soup pot for 10 minutes or so before serving. It also tastes amazingly good on days 2 and 3, so you might want to make it in advance of eating — and it freezes/defrosts like a champ.

No slow cooker? No problem. Follow all the instructions as above, but use a soup/stew pot in step #2. Then instead of transferring all the ingredients to the slow cooker, cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours. Remove the lid and simmer 10 minutes until slightly thickened.


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30 Responses to “Slow Cooker “Osso Buco” Stew”

  1. Morten says:

    Noooo! You’re missing out on the lovely marrow when you don’t use shanks.

    It sounds really, really delicious though.

  2. Emily says:

    Just put in the slow cooker for tomorrow or Friday’s dinner, excited to wake up to the smell of Osso Buco in the morning! :)

  3. Matilda says:

    I love osso bucco and I love marrow (ever since a kid).
    This looks delish, and I want some now.

  4. helene says:

    the osso bucco is all about the marrow.

  5. Jenna says:

    This sounds excellent! I follow the autoimmune protocol–do you think this would be good if I just omit the tomatoes? It would be different, but still very tasty I’m guessing!

  6. Allison says:

    Any suggestions on purchasing a slow cooker? I am going to make some bone broth possibly this recipe. Do you prefer digital or not digital?

  7. Kat says:

    WoW! I slow cooked it in the oven on low, in my le creuset… I don’t think i’ve ever made something that smelt better! and Oh WoW did it taste just as good. I thought I had carrots, but not enough, so i subbed squash.

  8. Katie says:

    I just prepped this for tomorrow and smells so delicious already! Of course I exploded arrowroot flour all over myself and the kitchen. Typical Katie move.

  9. kari says:

    I made this and it is freaking delicious!!! Thanks Mel!

  10. Ashley says:

    I’m making this right now for the third or fourth time. It’s delicious! I brown the beef in duck fat and use beef broth instead of chicken broth/wine. I’ve also added a cut up sweet potato this time. Can’t wait to eat it! Great recipe!

  11. Alison says:

    I am away at work (or commuting there and back) for 12 hours door to door, any chance this could cook that long without destroying it?

  12. Karen says:

    Hello :) I’m about to start cooking and don’t have arrowroot. Can I substitute taro or gelatin? Thank you!

  13. Danielle says:

    What could I use to substitute the arrowroot? Thanks!!

    • The arrowroot is used as a thickener because it’s starchy but paleo friendly. If you have tapioca flour/starch of potato flour/starch, that will also work. Otherwise, just omit it. The stew will be fine. Just simmer it uncovered for a while to help with thickening.

  14. Alison says:

    this was awesome. Hubby said it was the best stew he’d ever tasted (and I make a LOT of stews with the random cuts I get with our half-side of beef every 2 years!). Even good on day 6 (blush)

  15. Lucinda says:

    Sounds like an excellent veal stew, but it’s not osso buco, which is made with a cross cut veal shank. It is a tough cut, which becomes tender and flavorful when braised. Osso buck in Italian means bone with hole. The bone and marrow are critical to osso buco.

  16. Louise Jones says:

    Making this for the second time this week. Husband and I both really loved it the first time around – he pronounced it the second best thing I’d made in the slow cooker (Nom Nom Korean ribs getting first prize I’m afraid) but more importantly better than the Osso Bucco I was taught to make in cookery school in my pre paleo days! High praise indeed. I make it with the cross cut veal shank by the way in the more traditional style.

  17. Alicia says:

    Is this recipe in any of your cookbooks? BTW…..this website has changed my life. Thank you for that.

  18. Carx2 says:

    I made this tonight. Both kids and husband couldn’t get enough…no leftovers unfortunately! Thanks for the recipe

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