BRRRrrrrrr it's friggin cold out there! Cold is just plain painful if you ask me - I'm a warm weather gal at heart. I consider a mild cool breeze sweater weather. As we creep further and further into winter (or is it already here?), I find myself going into full hibernation mode. That (unfortunately) includes cravings for hot hearty meals. And it doesn't get much more hearty than a rich beef stew with toasty french bread. Oh la la!
For my stew I decided to go with oxtail as the star of the show. If you've never had or heard of it before, it is what it is - the tail! It's fattier but incredibly tender and delicious after being stewed for hours. Fall off the bone delicious. Rich, steaming hot stew with crusty french bread delicious. Delicious!!
The entire process is a labor of love and does take a few hours. But do not fret, you can always prepare the dish a day ahead and then keep it in the fridge overnight to serve the next day (it's even better at that point). Pair it with a nice glass of Petite Verdot or Petite Sirah and you'll pretty much be in heaven.
Recipe (adapted from Elise, Simply Recipes)
- 3 lbs oxtails with separated joints
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 2 cups stock (chicken or beef)
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 3 whole garlic cloves, peel still on
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- parsley, chopped for garnish
- olive oil
- sea salt and freshed cracked pepper
- 3 carrots, cut into 1-inch segments
- 1 package white mushrooms, large ones cut in half
- Pat dry oxtails with paper towels. Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in medium to medium high heat in a 6-quart Dutch oven. Working in batches and not crowding the pan, sear the oxtails in hot pan on all sides until golden brown. Use tongs to remove oxtails onto a plate and set aside.
- Add the chopped onion, carrot and celery to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until onions are translucent. Add the oxtails back to the pan. Add the whole garlic cloves, the stock and wine. Add bay leaf, rosemary and half a teaspoon of salt. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 3 hours, until meat is fork tender.
- One hour before the meat is done, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss the carrots in olive oil in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast carrots for 1 hour, or until lightly browned and cooked through.
- Once the oxtail meat is tender, remove them from the cooking liquid using tongs. Skim the fat off the top with a spoon or use a fat separator to remove the fat. Then, pour the cooking liquid through a mesh strainer into a bowl, using a rubber spatula to press against the vegetable solids in the strainer to catch excess liquid. Discard the solids.
- Return the liquid to the pan and add the mushrooms. Simmer until reduced by half (or less if you like a more soupy stew). Then add back in the oxtails and add the roasted carrots to the pan. Heat on low heat for half an hour for the flavors to meld. Add some chopped parsley before serving.