Last week I talked about how I cooked my arse off and lost weight. Well one of my top five recipes that I tried and was new to myself and my family was braised oxtail. It’s one of those cuts that I think more folks should be eating. Then I hate the thought of waste when the life of an animal is taken.
First what is it? Well like the name sounds it is the tail of cattle. Typically it was an ox or the male castrated cow’s tail. These days it either sex of cattle. It’s eaten all over the world but usually here in the US it is used in Jamaican and African-American dishes. I know a few friends of mine whose jaw dropped when they found out little old white me loves oxtail or a few other soulful dishes and I know how to cook them.
Oxtail is one of those cuts that is best in dishes where it has a long time to cook. The meat is gelatinous and high in but you get the added benefit of the marrow and well if your fan of Weston Price or Sally Fallon and her book Nourishing Traditions you the benefits of bone marrow or eating cuts like this. Your body needs fat to feed your brain. Over doing it the problem. I might not agree 100% with Weston Price or Sally Fallon (who was one of the teachers at IIN) but I see the connection to a healthy body. That said, I am person who gets chilled in the winter months easily and having heartier meals helps me. You wouldn’t see me eating this in the middle of summer. I’d over heat.
If you live here in CT , near New Haven the best place to buy oxtail is either at one of the New Haven farmers market or at one of my favorite stores , Ferraros Market. Of course if you don’t live in this area, check you local farmer’s market and if all else fails call around. Sometimes Whole Foods carry this cut as well. It was always a miss for me when I went in to WF for it.
Oxtail is great for broth, soups, stews and braising. When I make the following recipe the table goes quite as they are busy getting every tasty bit off the bones.
I want to add one more thing before I share the recipe. I’ve made this with both fresh chorizo and cured chorizo. Fresh is going to give you more fat in the end. It’s good but I think I liked the cured chorizo much more to be honest. Try it both ways.
I found the following recipe in a Bon Appetit magazine. You will need about 4 hrs to cook this dish but it’s well worth it on a cold day when your stuck inside. A dutch oven or large oven proof pot with lid is also something else you will need to do this dish. Also a food processor is helpful if you’re using the cured chorizo to break it up (see picture above).
Spanish-Style Oxtails Braised with Chorizo
- 6 lb (2- to 3-inch-pieces) meaty oxtails
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 lb mild Spanish chorizo (spicy cured pork sausage)
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 4 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet or hot Spanish smoked paprika
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 (28- to 32-oz) can whole tomatoes in purée, coarsely chopped (including purée) in a food processor
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar
What you do:
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Pat oxtails dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown oxtails in batches without crowding, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer as browned to a bowl. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot.
- Remove and discard casing from chorizo, then finely chop sausage in food processor.
- Cook chorizo, onion, carrots, garlic, and bay leaf in fat in pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Add paprika and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits. Add oxtails with any juices accumulated in bowl and chopped tomatoes (liquid should come about halfway up sides of meat) and bring to a boil.
- Cover pot and braise oxtails in lower third of oven, turning once or twice, until very tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Skim fat from sauce, then stir in parsley, cilantro, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
I hope you will give this recipe or at least oxtails a try.