Red Wine Braised Oxtail

Red Wine Braised Oxtail

2014-12-14 19.01.41 On a cold winter day, braised meat makes an ideal comfort food to warm your home and your belly.  I got turned on to oxtail several years ago after making an oxtail ragu with friends.  Recently I started buying this cut of beef again, and after a few tries I think I have perfected the recipe.  Oxtail is the relatively inexpensive tail of cattle skinned and cut into short lengths.  The meat has a large bony center with a gelatin rich core, excellent for making stock.  When cooked low and slow the meat will fall off the bone while the gelatin and fat will melt to make an amazingly flavorful and hearty meal.

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You will want to start this dish early in the afternoon to give it adequate time to develop flavor.  Braising is a simple but long process that yields delicious results with cheap cuts of meat.  One thing to keep in mind when braising any cut of meat is to use a wine that you enjoy drinking on its own, since the wine is such an integral part of the dish.  While at the market I was enticed by an even cheaper cut of beef along with the oxtail, the beef shank with bone, which I used in the dish with the oxtail.  I bought it because it basically looked like a larger piece of oxtail.  The friendly butcher at the Paulina Meat Market assured me it would braise beautifully.  He was right, I will definitely be buying and braising this cut again.

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Oxtail (left) and Shank with bone (right)

Previous times braising oxtail I did not bother to make a sauce out of the remaining juices, I just ladled the thin juices on top.  I found several recipes that recommend making a simple roux to thicken the liquid into a sauce, so I thought I’d give it a try.  It took an extra 5 minutes to make the sauce, but it was well worth the effort.  The sauce brought the dish to a whole new level, and if I do say so myself was better than anything I’ve eaten out in a while.

Ingredients:

-4-5 pounds of oxtail (I used 2 lbs of oxtail and 1 large shank of beef with bone)
-6 Tbsp butter, divided into 2 Tbsp pads
-2 large onions, diced
-3-4 large cloves of garlic, minced
-5 carrots, peeled and sliced
-2 stalks of celery, sliced
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
-Salt and pepper
-Garlic powder
-2 sprigs of rosemary
-3 bay leaves
-3 Tbsp tomato paste
-1 bottle of red wine
-4 cups of chicken or beef stock
-2Tbsp flour

Directions:

1. Season meat on both sides liberally with salt, pepper, and powdered garlic.

2. In a large dutch oven on medium heat melt 2 Tbsp of butter and brown meat on all sides.  Brown in batches to avoid over crowding the pan.

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3. Remove meat when browned and set aside.  Add onions to dutch oven and season with salt, up to 2 tsp of black pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Cook on medium/low heat with 2 additional Tbsp of butter until lightly browned.

4. Add garlic, carrots, and celery and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes before adding tomato paste.

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5. Add wine, broth, rosemary sprigs, and bay leaves returning heat to medium, simmer until liquid is reduced to nearly half.

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6. Preheat oven to 325F.  Return meat to dutch oven with juices, bring to a simmer.  Cover with oven proof lid or cover tightly with foil.  Cook in oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

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7. Carefully remove bay leaves and rosemary sprigs.  The rosemary will break off from the stem, which is fine.  Remove 2/3 of the liquid from dutch oven and spoon into a small pan to make a sauce.

8. To make sauce: soften remaining 2 Tbsp of butter and mix with 2 Tbsp of flour to make a roux, stir into hot liquid to thicken into a sauce over medium heat for a few minutes to desired consistency.

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9. Serve over a bed of creamy mashed potatoes.

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Enjoy!

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White Wine Braised Lamb Chops

 

2014-01-12 19.38.22Winter weather cooking is all about comfort foods that are full of flavor and warmth.  Lately I have been playing around with braising cheap cuts of meat.  The flavors are incredible, the meat is insanely tender, and braising is really very easy to do.  Technically braising is just searing then slow cooking a cut of meat that has a tough quality or connective tissue that needs broken down.  Adding wine, beer, or tomatoes with broth then covering to finish cooking for a long period of time completes the braising process.  Of course time is a factor and planning in advance will only help enhance the flavors, try this for a fancy weekend meal.  For tonights braising I got the lamb chops at Paulina Meat Market and decided to go with a white wine and beef broth cooking liquid, fresh herbs, and vegetables to enhance the lamb.

I chose lamb shoulder chops that are blade cut, the least expensive cut of lamb in stock at the market.  I decided to keep the flavors soft using leeks instead of onions with the white wine.  Starting on Saturday I rubbed the lamb down giving it a day to soak in, I definitely recommend this with this recipe.  Thyme goes so nicely with dry white wine and I happen to have a lot growing right now, so I used that primarily with a little fresh rosemary and parsley to round out the flavors.  You can use other herbs that you have fresh or dried (use a little less if using dried herbs as they are more potent) sage or oregano would be lovely as well.

Ingredients: 

Rub:
2 tsp of garlic powder
2 tsp of pepper
2 tsp of salt
2 tsp fresh thyme, minced and heaping
2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp fresh parsley, minced

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2 8oz cuts of lamb with bone in and marbled with fat/connective tissue
4 carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 Leek, halved and sliced
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp of ground pepper
4 sprigs of thyme, center stem removed
2 bay leaves
1 cup of white wine
1 cup of beef broth

Directions:

1. At least one hour in advance (up to 12 hours in advance) mix together rub ingredients and pat onto lamb chops, refrigerate until 30 minutes before browning.
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2. Choose a large heavy pan with an oven-safe lid to make the meal in.  Heat on medium-high, coat with olive oil and brown lamb chops 5 minutes on each side.  Remove from pan and set aside.

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3. Lower heat to medium-low, add a pad of butter to pan and saute carrots, celery, fennel, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves.  Saute for 8-10 minutes before adding white wine, beef broth, and chops to pan.  The liquid should come about 2/3 of the way up the side of the meat, I added a little more wine and broth after taking this picture below.  Bring to a boil.

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4. Once boiling, cover pan and place in oven at 285 degrees for 3 hours.

2014-01-12 19.27.46In the end the meat is literally falling off the bone and that tough connective tissue has melted into a soft smooth consistency.  The smell is incredible and the taste is so flavorful, words cannot do justice.

To serve this I boiled some cauliflower until very tender, mixed it in the kitchenaid standing mixer with butter, roasted garlic, salt, pepper, and a little milk.  It made a rice-like consistency that was a perfect bed for the lamb and vegetables.  You can also use rice or mashed potatoes, but I wanted to make this paleo friendly.  Fresh green beans for a side and you have yourself a restaurant quality meal at home.

Enjoy and Stay Healthy!