Oxtails have to be one of my favourite things! They are so tender, unctuous and just plain lip-smacking good! This is a recipe I have made for years with a tweak here, and a tweak there along the way. Years ago oxtails were very inexpensive…not any more…I guess they have been “discovered”…never mind the stories that there is only one tail per animal and that is why the prices have gone up! Great with a baguette or mashed potatoes or even some tubular shape of pasta (what I do with the leftovers). Can be made the day before & reheated over medium-low heat until hot or in a medium-low oven.
4 lbs. oxtails cut into 2” pieces (have your butcher do this for you)
A combination of EVOO & canola oil for browning the meat (approx. 2 Tbsp. each)
4 medium carrots, peeled & cut into 1” pieces
1 rutabaga peeled & cut into 1 ½” pieces (or you can substitute the same amount of white turnip)
2 cooking onions cut into ¼” dice
4 stalks celery, trimmed & cut into 1” pieces
1/3rd – ½ cup dried Porcini mushrooms
3 cups beef stock**
1 cup dry red wine
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried thyme)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
To thicken the sauce: 3 Tbsp. beef stock & 1 Tbsp. potato starch.
Make the Oxtails:
Place the dried Porcini in a small bowl & add ½ or so of warm water; allow them to soak until soft, approximately 20 minutes. Squeeze them dry, roughly chop & set aside.
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Blot the oxtails dry with paper towels & season with salt & pepper. In a large saute pan on top of the stove, heat the oils over medium heat; when hot place the oxtails in the pan & brown them well on all sides. Remove them, as they are browned, to a large plate. If there is more than 2 Tbsp. oil left in the pan remove the excess. Add all the chopped veggies & saute them for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are softened. Add the dried Porcini & stir for a minute; add the wine, beef stock, tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme & parsley; season with ½ to 1 tsp. salt & ¼ tsp. pepper. Bring this mixture to a boil; return the oxtails to the pan, cover & place in the oven to braise for 2 ½ – 3 hrs. I always think longer is better.
Remove the oxtails from the oven. Make a “slurry” with the beef stock & potato starch, stirring in half at a time until you reach the thickness you like; season with additional salt & pepper to taste & serve.
If you would like to make you own beef stock, click here.