For the last few months I’ve felt like it was time for a change. I didn’t know what kind of change so I did what most twenty somethings living in a faltering economy would do. I ignored it and stayed at my job. Well it would seem that reality didn’t agree with my cowardly attempt at procrastination and I found myself unable to avoid the oncoming rush of change. So after a few days of worrying I decided that this wasn’t a curse. I can either freak out and maintain my status quo or I can reach out and change my life. I have a culinary degree that I hardly use, a passion for writing, and a list of things that I’m afraid to try. Why not combine the three and have some fun in the process.
In honor of my new blog I decided to cook something I’ve never made before. I thought for a few days about what I could make and finally, while I was wandering around the Farmers Market, it came to me. I passed by the oxtails and couldn’t help but think about the few times I’d had oxtail before. immediately I remembered traveling with my family and the first time I tried the rich, warm, sticky meat. So I bought a few pounds and put them in my cart. Once I got home the tricky part started. How the heck was I going to cook these things? I didn’t want something that would hide the flavor and I really didn’t want to make a stew. I also really wanted to make something that was inexpensive and simple. This recipe is the result of my first attempt at braised ox tail. I’m pleased with the results and I hope you will be too.
With out further ado I present…
1T Vegetable Oil
3 lbs Oxtail
1 Medium Onion, Rough Chopped
4 Stalks Celery, Rough Chopped
8oz Beef Stock
1 Bottle Guinness Extra Stout
Salt for Seasoning
1 Small Bunch Thyme
2 Long Sprigs Rosemary
Place the oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 250º Fahrenheit. Rinse oxtails in cold water and dry thoroughly1 with a paper towel. In a heavy-bottom dutch oven2, heat the vegetable oil. Season the oxtail pieces with salt, and brown each of the pieces making sure not to crowd the pan. Remove and set aside. Sweat the onions until they are translucent. Add the celery and cook for about 3 minutes or until they begin to soften. Deglaze, over medium-high, with an ounce of Guinness. Add the oxtails back to the pot. Pour in enough Guinness and beef stock to cover ¼ of the oxtails. Add the herbs to the pot and bring to a simmer. Once it has come to a simmer replace the lid and put the pot in the oven. Cook at 250º Fahrenheit for about four to six hours3&4, checking periodically to see if the meat will fall off of the bone.
12oz Tagliatelle Pasta5
8oz Oxtail Braising Liquid
1.5T Unsalted Butter
2 Portobello Mushrooms, Diced
1 Cup Oxtail Meat
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package then strain and put aside. While your pasta is cooking remove the oxtails from the pan. Strain out and reserve 8oz of the braising liquid. (Save the remaining braising liquid for later.) Carefully remove the oxtail meat from the bone and set the meat aside. (Put the bones back into the dutch oven and set aside.*) Pour the braising liquid into a small sauce pot and bring it to a simmer. Once the liquid is simmering reduce it to about ¾ of a cup. Then add the butter and mix well. Next put both the mushrooms and the meat into the pot and cook until hot. Toss the pasta and sauce together and serve with a nice glass of red wine or a cold Guinness.
*At this point you can make an amazingly rich beef stock. Add the rest of the Guinness and enough beef stock to cover the bones. Then put simmer the pot on low for 2-3 hours.
1Any meat will benefit from rinsing and drying before you brown it. Drying it well will prevent your meat from steaming.
2A braiser will work here too. I prefer Le Creuset or Staub for this. The cast iron will ensure that you maintain the proper temperature and the enamel will prevent you from having to season and maintain the cast iron.
3This depends on how even a temperature your oven maintains. At about four hours you should start to check how tender the meat is. It’s done as soon as you can pull the meat off the bone easily with two forks.
4Make sure that the pot does not cook dry.
5This can be substituted with any wide, flat pasta.