Oxymoronic Chocolate Stout Osso Bucco with Pearl Barley and Leeks

Once while absently attending the isles of my local liquor warehouse I purposely stumbled upon a glimmering black bottle. Apathetically intrigued as I vacantly viewed the description on the label which read “Double Chocolate Stout” I placed it into my basket with controlled abandon. I pondered in wondering certainty as to what I was to expect from the bottles contents; to me the sound of chocolate and beer were like chalk and cheese and yet if this brew could satiate my thirst it would be a minor miracle. 

Arriving home I immediately procrastinated; I had things to do and articles to write but the glimmering black bottle sang a siren’s song. A chilled glass in one hand and an opener in the other, with deliberate speed I cracked the seal and heard the deafening whisper of gas escape its sumptuous prison. I poured a large sample of this chocolate stout and enjoyed its bitter sweet aroma as it slid like rough silk into the glass. After my first sip it was my unbiased opinion that this Young’s Double Chocolate Stout was Terribly Good! It’s as though James Squire and Willy Wonka hit it off at a party and wished to be “alone together” and this beer was their sinful lovechild.

Suddenly delayed from doing anything else, I hypothesised experiments and The Culinary Barbarian’s Oxymoronic Chocolate Stout Osso Bucco with Pearl Barley and Leeks was born. 

osso bucco


4 cuts of ossobuco (about 1 kg)

2 bottle of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (one to stew, the other to drink)

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 large red onion, 1 cm cubes

3 medium carrots, 1 cm cubes

3 sticks of celery, 1 cm cubes

1 small swede, 1 cm cubes

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups of beef stock

¼ cup plain flour, sifted

1 tbsp sweet paprika

1tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 bunch rosemary 

Butter for frying

Pearl Barley and Leeks

1 ½ cups pearl barley, soaked and rinsed

1 carrot, diced

1 stick celery, diced

1 large leek, diced

2 cups of chicken stock



  1. Sift the flower, paprika and pepper onto a large plate. Coat each of the pieces of ossobuco in the flower, shake off any excess flower.  In a large heavy based pan, heat a small nob of butter until bubbling and brown each of the pieces of ossobuco on both sides to seal. Set aside.
  2. Add a little beer to the pan to deglaze it and reserve the liquid. Add another nob of butter to the pan and when bubbling, sauté the garlic onion and celery, and carrots and swede until softened. Return the reserved liquid to the pan along with the remaining beer, tomato paste and beef stock, and stirring to mix. Simmer to reduce liquid by ½ (about 20 min).
  3. Pour into your slow cooker and arrange the rosemary so it sits directly under the ossobuco. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8. If the liquid is too thin, you can finish this in the oven. Carefully remove the ossobuco to keep them intact and pour the remaining ragout into an oven safe pan. Place the shanks back on top and partially cover. Cook for about 20 min at 200 degrees C. 

Pearl Barley with Leeks

  1. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, sauté the carrot, celery and leeks until translucent.
  2. Add the washed barley and stock and simmer until tender and the stock is absorbed.

To serve, plate the osso bucco atop of the barley with plenty of ragout and serve with crusty buttered bread.