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Red wine braised oxtails
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Joined15 Jul 2007
LocationThe Dark Shadows
Bones25393.12 Bones

Post Red wine braised oxtails Reply with quote
Low, slow and delicious
Oxtails simmer into rich, hearty stew

By JeanMarie Brownson, Dinner at Home

November 2, 2011
I know how to combat the colder days ahead: Braise. Simmer. Stew.

Turn the oven to low. Plug in the slow cooker. Then invite close friends and share a meal. Repeat the formula often enough and before you know it, winter will have passed gently.

Besides filling the house with aroma, braises and stews offer economical ways to feed a family and to entertain. Turns out, the very meats that braise and stew best cost quite a bit less than quick-cooking tender steaks and chops.

Beef shanks, cheeks, brisket, oxtails as well as pork and lamb shoulder, shanks and neck all have lots of connective tissue which dissolves when cooked slowly. That means rich, hearty flavor and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.

So balance the budget by switching things up a bit; select the less expensive cuts when time is abundant. Then cook them with plenty of flavor by browning them properly and keeping the heat low and slow.

Even though the calendar doesn't officially declare that winter is upon us, we've already simmered up several batches of oxtails. Their rich, hearty flavor pairs beautifully with soy, red chile, fresh ginger and garlic for an Asian-inspired braise. I also like to give them a Mexican slant in the slow cooker with a little fresh jalapeno, fire-roasted tomatoes and poblano chiles. My all-occasion oxtail braise a combination of red wine, aromatic vegetables, a little allspice and sweet prunes follows.

My father says that when he worked in his neighborhood butcher shop many decades ago, oxtails were in great demand for soups and stews particularly with their middle European clientele.

Back then the tails likely came from oxen. Today, they're mostly from beef cattle and you'll need to order them in advance. Both my local supermarket butcher and the local meat market can get fresh oxtails with a few days' notice. At home, I freeze them for up to several months.

It's easiest to work with oxtails cut apart at their joints into pieces about

1 1/2 to 2 inches long. Figure on a little more than half a pound per serving because of the quantity of bone. The meat is a little hard to get at, so I serve them with steak knives. (Truth be told, we nibble on the bones to get every morsel.)

Alternatives to oxtails include beef shanks, beef short ribs on the bone, veal neck and veal shank. For most of these cuts, the ratio of meat to bone is higher than in oxtails so you can use 3 to 3 1/2 pounds to serve eight.

Serve the oxtail braise in warm, shallow bowls over long, wide egg noodles accompanied by a tossed salad made from escarole and endive. If you have leftovers, trim the meat off the bones and toss with cooked penne, their braising liquid and a little Parmesan. Trust me; you'll be singing praises to cold weather.

Braising tips

Select meats with a bit of fat left on them; the fat will render during the slow cooking and leave you with tender morsels.
Bone-in meats will yield more flavorful finished dishes.
Season the raw meat well with salt and pepper; you can even season it a day or two in advance.
Flour the meat lightly for nice browning and just the right thickening of the pan juices; a zippered plastic bag makes coating them easy.
Don't skimp on the browning step nice, even browning absolutely adds flavor worthy of the time it takes. Browning is essential when cooking in the slow cooker.
Use flavorful braising liquids such as broth, stock or wine to add flavor.
Cook the braise long enough: A fork inserted in the thickest portion of meat (not bone) should pull out easily.
Adjust the final seasoning with additional salt when the meat is completely tender. For maximum flavor and minimal fat, make the stew a day or two ahead and refrigerate. When cold, scrape off any solidified fat from the top.

Red wine braised oxtails with butternut squash and pearl onions

Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 3-4 hours Servings: 8

Note: I like to serve this over wide egg noodles, such as pappardelle. If the produce section sells cut-up butternut (or other winter squash or root vegetables), use about 18 ounces as a speedy substitute for whole squash.

Ingredients: 4 1/2 to 5 pounds oxtails, cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths 1/3 cup flour 3 teaspoons salt Freshly ground pepper 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground allspice 3 tablespoons canola oil or peanut oil 3 large carrots, halved, thickly sliced 2 ribs celery, sliced 1 large sweet onion, halved, cut into wedges 4 cloves garlic, crushed 1 1/2 cups dry red wine 3 to 4 sprigs each: fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon each dried) 2 cups chicken broth 1 large butternut squash, halved, seeded, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces 1 bag (14 ounces) frozen pearl onions 8 ounces pitted prunes, about 1 1/2 cups, halved Cooked wide egg noodles for serving Chopped parsley,0,5302598.story
Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:49 am View user's profile Find all posts by shadow777 Send private message Send e-mail

Joined14 Jun 2005
LocationYour Computer Screen!
Bones95605.42 Bones

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Thanks for this..........

I cook oxtails all the time. However, I've always cooked mine in the oven. When I feel really lazy, I use huge oven bags to cut down the cooking hours.

I had oxtails when I was recently in So. Africa. They were "small" compared to American oxtails. I suspect in So. Africa, the oxtails actually came from those damn water buffaloes I saw when I was on safari. Very Happy
Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:25 pm View user's profile Find all posts by Bootylicious Send private message

Joined15 Jul 2007
LocationThe Dark Shadows
Bones25393.12 Bones

Post Reply with quote
Shame on you' for not bring back some 'mother earth dirty for rest of us. Crying or Very sad

This will be my first try at oxtails. I hope this dish turns out to be worthy of plating.
It sounds very tastee.
Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:22 am View user's profile Find all posts by shadow777 Send private message Send e-mail
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