Chicken Osso Buco

Chicken Osso Buco

Recently, we found some organic chicken thighs on sale (which never happens), and in searching for a fun way to serve them, I came across CL’s Osso Buco-Style Chicken Thighs.  Only one word can describe the outcome: YUM.  We modified it a little, and the complex flavors of the fresh gremolata (an absolute must in this dish) with the super creamy polenta and the spicy stew-like veggies worked so very well with basic chicken.  Everything came together much faster than expected, though there is some wait time with the tomato mixture–simply to let the flavors meld together.  We had a bit of leftover sauce, so I pureed it.  It reminds me of a cross between a bolognese base minus the meat and a vodka sauce minus the booze.  Since we froze it, I’m not sure if we’ll serve the sauce as is or transform it into something different.  Regardless, we loved the osso buco and the leftover pasta sauce.

While composing this dish, we started talking about our favorite composers and the piano and how it’s a perfect instrument, thus leading to watching piano concerts on YouTube.  Little did we know that we were about to come across one of the most talented pianists we’ve ever seen.  Valentina Lisitsa, who crazily plans to record all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas (something that typically takes a lifetime and, according to Valentina, something that more individuals have gone into space than actually done, of course), is stunning, was born with speedier fingers than anyone on Earth, and has so much strength in her hands she could quickly crush yours when shaking it.  Should you ever encounter this blonde, be careful.  Additionally, Valentina, a Ukrainian-born genius, in her spare time, maintains an organic garden in her North Carolina countryside home and loves cooking Italian food–something I learned after making osso buco, fittingly.  I know who I’ll be listening to when I next cook.



  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skinned
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small red onions, chopped
  • 3-4 medium carrots, chopped (cubed, for a more accurate version of osso buco)
  • 2-3 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2-28 oz. cans whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary


  • 2 cups non-fat milk
  • 1-1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked polenta
  • 1/2 cup Gruyère cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • Kosher salt, to taste


  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced


  1. To prepare chicken, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Add chicken to pan and cook about 4 minutes on each side or until nicely browned. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  4. Add a little more oil to the pan, over medium-high heat.
  5. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.  Sauté about 7 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned tasty bits.
  7. Add the tomatoes, basil, rosemary, and even a dash of salt; bring to a boil.
  8. Begin to break down the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.
  9. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 20 minutes.
  10. Return chicken to pan. Cover and simmer 35 minutes or until chicken is done.
  11. Uncover and cook 5 minutes or until tomato mixture thickens.
  12. To prepare polenta, combine milk and broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil.
  13. Lower the heat; gradually add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk.
  14. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until thick and well combined, about 15 minutes (use the package’s advice).
  15. Remove from heat; stir in cheeses and salt.
  16. To prepare gremolata, combine parsley, rind, and garlic.
  17. Serve chicken mixture over polenta; sprinkle with gremolata.

Yields about 4-6 servings