Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day Tradition and Memories (With Osso Buco Recipe)

When we lived in London we always celebrated Boxing Day, the day after Christmas.  Our family always had a dinner for many neighbors and friends.  We traditionally served Osso Buco as a counterpart to turkey and dressing the day before.

The term, Boxing Day, is a name for Christmas present.  In the past, it  was a day off for servants.  They received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would also go home to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families. 

It is a day for charity.  Some say that traditionally, churches opened their alms boxes the day after Christmas and distributed money to the poor on Boxing Day.

Some say it was a feudal obligation from the middle ages.  The lord of the manor distributed boxes of household goods and tools to his serfs, as was his obligation, on Boxing Day. 
However far back the Christmas custom of Boxing Day extends, it was only made a legal holiday in England and Wales in the mid 19th century by Queen Victoria. In Scotland, Boxing Day was not a national holiday until the late 20th century.

A box to collect money for the poor was placed in Churches on Christmas day then opened the next day.   Also, sailing ships when setting sail would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck.  If the voyage were a success the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents given to the poor.

In recent times the day has become synonymous with sport. Horse racing is particularly  popular with meets all over the country. Many top football teams also play on Boxing Day. 
Here is a Boxing Day gift from me.  It is the Osso Buco recipe I always use and used in the days we lived in London.  I hope you like it!

Osso Buco Recipe
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds veal shanks
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. In a shallow dish, stir together flour, salt, and black pepper. Dredge meat in seasoned flour. In a large skillet, melt butter with oil over medium heat. Brown meat. Remove meat from pan, and set aside.
  2. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to drippings in pan. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomato sauce, water, basil, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Return meat to pan. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer. Cover, and cook for 2 1/2 hours.               

The recipe serves 6 people.  Enjoy!

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