Ethical Veal (secret ingredient) Osso Buco

When Stacy and I first met, back before grass fed or animal welfare were concerns of mine, she had a list of meats that she refused to eat. She didn’t eat duck because ducks were cute. She didn’t eat lamb because she wouldn’t eat babies. And, of course, she wouldn’t eat veal due to the appalling conditions that veal is usually raised in. She’s since matured her thought philosophy on this line of thinking after learning more about humane, sustainable pastured raised animals, but veal has long since remained on her list of meats to avoid since we’d never previously found it raised in such a way.

But a few years back we went to the Restaurant at Patowmack Farms and discovered that they had pastured, grass-fed, not confined veal on the menu. So Stacy took a chance and tried it. And loved it. Ever since then, she’s been on the look out for ethically raised veal. It’s flavor and texture are like velvet on the tongue, very much different from the formula-fed confied calves in the horrible stories we hear about. This NYT article did a great job of describing how the boycott of mistreated animals affected change, and how chefs are thrilled with the results.

AIP Osso Buco on Paleo Parents

So of course, when she recently found veal shanks at The Organic Butcher of McLean it was a must-buy. After discussing how to perfectly cook these (not inexpensive) shanks, we were thrilled that the result ended in this Osso Buco – it is perfection, despite being completely autoimmune paleo-friendly (since Stacy is careful to always avoid nightshades, this simply means this version is sans the usual tomatoes and flour)!

Juicy Osso Buco on PaleoParents

What’s unique about my Osso Buco is the secret ingredient I use to replace the tomato paste; instead we used homemade pumpkin puree. The result is a perfect Osso Buco, so classic in flavor and texture you would never think it was made any differently! In fact, we hadn’t even intended to make this a blog recipe. But when Stacy arrived home and tried a bite she immediately pulled out her camera phone and took pictures, insisting I share it with you all. Hence, she apologizes for the less-than-stellar food photography in these. Just trust us when we say, it’s worth making!

Grass-Fed Veal Osso Buco



  1. After patting dry, sprinkle each shank liberally with salt and pepper, then dredge each shank in the tapioca flour.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat. When hot, sear each side of the shanks, about 3 minutes per side. Remove shanks and set aside.
  3. Saute carrots and onions, stirring frequently, until translucent. About 8 minutes.
  4. Add pumpkin and stir to combine. Return shanks and add wine. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Tie herbs in a cheesecloth. Add stock and herbs to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover.
  6. Simmer for 2 hours or until meat is falling off the bone. Garnish with lemon juice, zest and parsley and serve with a shank piece and a way to extract the marrow!


If you cannot find pastured veal where you are, grass-fed beef or other lean ruminant animals (like lamb, venison, or bison) shanks would work too!

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