Welcome to my F-ing life!

Friday, January 21, 2011

French Braised Oxtails

Remember that recipe contest that I mentioned I entered?

I created a total of five recipes and forced Papa Bear, Drama Queen, Little Lawyer, and our fantastic friends Steven, Kristina and Vinka to taste test them and rate them so I could decide which one out of the five was the one I should submit.  I ended up submitting Butternut Soup Muffins, but you can read about the other recipes that were kicked around like Shrimp Chowder Quesadillas, Old Fashioned Potato Soup Gnocchi or Creamy Tomato Roasted Mushrooms.

I really want to point out again (and again and again...) how much I appreciate Papa Bear and Steven for helping me with this project.  They took some fantastic shots of the food, and provided a ton of insight. I don't know what I'd do without them. Thanks guys....I love you!

I am a firm believer that oxtail is an underrated meat. It is not very expensive (at least not where I shop) and is on sale quite often. It is so rich and flavorful that you don't (or can't) eat a ton of it, so a little does go a long way.  I love the flavor of oxtail in stews and braises so much that I actually have several recipes for oxtail.  I make a country-style oxtail stew (much like a pot roast type of dish) that Drama Queen even requests for special occasion dinners.

If you like red meat, please don't overlook oxtail. You won't be sorry!!

Season oxtail with salt.
Place oxtail in ziploc and pour soup over to coat.

Marinate in fridge overnight.

Measure out cloves and allspice.

Tie them up in a cheesecloth for later.

In a large dutch oven, heat some oil and brown those tails in batches on all sides. Let them rest on a plate while you work the rest of the magic...

Saute springs of thyme, garlic, carrots, leeks and celery until softened.

Pile that meat right on top of the veggies.

Add enough wine and marinade (soup) to cover.

Add your cheesecloth-wrapped spices and bury them in the liquid. Cover & cook for one hour.

Have some diced pepper, diced tomato and shiitake ready to add to the pot. Cover and put back in the oven for 30 minutes or so.
Serve right out of the pot! You could also serve over rice or pasta.

French Braised Oxtails

4-5 pounds oxtails
1 can Wolfgang Puck French Onion Soup
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium leeks (white parts only), chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
red wine
1 1/2 teaspoon cloves, whole
1 1/2 teaspoon allspice, whole
2 cups tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups any color peppers, chopped
10 ounces fresh or dried whole shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, re-hydrated if dried
Finely chopped scallions for garnish

Combine oxtails and soup. Marinade overnight. Take oxtails out of marinade and reserve onion soup.

In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown both sides of meat in batches in olive oil. Lower heat to med-low and add a little more oil and butter; saute springs of thyme, garlic, carrots, leeks and celery until softened.

Return oxtails to pot and add wine and enough water to cover the oxtails. Bring to a simmer. Put cloves and allspice into a sachet or tie in a cheesecloth; submerge in liquid. Season with salt, cover, and put into a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Then add tomatoes, mushrooms and pepper. Stir and return pot to the oven for half an hour or until oxtails are tender. Check to see if additional water is needed during braising process. Seasoning with more salt if needed.  Garnish with scallions.

Steven made this even better...by adding a pinch more salt, sugar and thickening up the sauce, which tightened up the flavor and intensity quite a bit.

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