Tim Ferriss’ Osso “Buko” from the 4 Hour Chef

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The 4 Hour Chef is a really catchy title, which immediately makes you think that you can learn to be a chef in 4 hours, but the books is not about that. More on this later.

It’s Tim Ferriss’ latest best selling book. It has 14 carefully chosen meals each using only 4 ingedients and they all take just 5-20 minutes to prepare.  If that has not grabbed you yet, each of those meals are compliant with a Slow Carb diet or even a Paleo diet.

Besides being a recipe book it has also been used by some people as a diet book. Some people who have been following this way of eating have lost 20 lbs in a month from just following these recipes and not even thinking about a diet. Well I don’t have 20 lbs to lose but maybe 10 lbs, then I can fit into those model sized sample dresses.

So what this book is really about is Meta Learning where you learn to mimic the world’s fastest learner and in his own words,  “a choose your own adventure book”. He says that he has crammed in 6 months worth of culinary school learning into 48 hours. A total of 4 hours is needed to cook all the 14 dishes and with the skill and knowledge gained, this gives you the basis to tackle thousands of other recipes. All of the recipes are designed so that you don’t need a lot of fancy kitchen equipment and can be done on a low budget.

This book is not about cooking, it’s about mastering life. So armed with the skills learnt using cooking as the skill to learn, I can apply that to meta learn anything like how to speak fluent Spanish in 8 weeks.

I was just so intrigued to try out the recipes so I picked this one : The Osso “Buko” a play on the famous Italian Osso Bucco made with veal shanks. In his recipe which you can see here, he uses lamb shanks.

Tim Ferris’ Osso “Buko” from the 4 Hour Chef

Very easy lamb stew dish, takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and off the bone lamb appears after 2 hours.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 4 Lamb shanks
  • 5 cloves garlis or garlic powder
  • bunch of carrots
  • can of tomatoes
  • half bottle of white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • Some Extra Virgin olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Peel carrots ( he says to scrub them with a course scourer part of the sponge) He doesn't even chop them but places them whole at the bottom of a heavy pan. In the US they use a Dutch oven. I just used my Le Creuset.
  • Place lamb shanks on top of the carrots (no browning before hand)
  • Pour in a can of tomatoes. (He says to crush the tomatoes by hand into the pan, I just cut them up in the can before pouring.)
  • Put in peeled garlic
  • Pour in wine until it reaches 1/3 to 1/2 way up the pot
  • Add salt and lots of pepper
  • Cook covered in the oven for 2 hours
  • Serve with more vegetables if you are doing the Slow Carb or Paleo diet or some crushed potatoes would be a nice accompaniment


Improvements to the recipe that I would make
1. Brown the meat on all sides before putting into the pan
2. Add some onions to recipe, soften them in a bit of oil before adding any other ingredient
3. Maybe subsitute the white wine with some red wine to give the meat and the resulting sauce a bit more colour
4. I would also reduce the sauce down a bit before serving as it was quite liquid. After reduction, the sauce was a lot richer. Delicious.

I like recipes like this, minimal fuss, easy to prepare and quite tasty too. I’ll be trying a few of this other recipes soon.

You can get The 4 Hour Chef book from Amazon. You can watch his official book trailer in this video:



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