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ox tails: Tips & Techniques


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Its all about braising it baby. untill it falls of the bone then reduce the braising liquid to a sauce and throw them back in to coat them. Serve with some rice and maybe a veg and its all good.

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is there much meat on ox tail? i usually use it as a base for stock (see "pho" on egullet somewhere). however, my tail might be lacking the meat of others. it certainly has a distinctive flavor. to me anyway... and i've been known to talk just to read myself typing.

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it all depends on which part of teh tail you get. As we all know some tail is much better tehn other. :biggrin:

Sorry i couldn't resist.

But a piece from closer to the base of the tail is actually preety meaty. but the pieces closer to the tip tend to be more bone then meat.

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I learned how to make a mean oxtail stew from some wonderful ladies in Jamaica last year.  I gotta dig up the recipe.  It was so tender it was insane.  And foolproof, as I recall.

so there's considerable meat on these things? i've only bought them at grocery stores, with the intention of using them for stock, so i've never paid much attention. although, a quick search on epicurious tells me that they are often used for braising and stews. "ahh", he said.

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Oxtail Stew

oxtail about 2-2.5 lbs

4 tblsp. flour

2 tblsp. cooking oil

Salt and Black pepper

2 medium onions sliced

1 clove garlic crushed

4 carrots pared and sliced

1 cup peeled chopped tomatoes (they used canned)

16 oz. hot water

2 stalks green onions finely sliced

1 spring thyme

1 tblsp allspice

tabasco sauce, to taste

1 can lima beans (yes they used canned)

Trim away excess fat and place oxtail in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes to blanch. Drain well on absorbent paper and coat with flour. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy skillet and brown oxtail on both sides until brown. Add carrots, onion, garlic, tomatoes and hot water. Cover and simmer gently for 2.5 to 3 hours or until oxtail is almost tender. At this stage add more liquid if necessary and add the green onions, allspice, thyme, and tabasco. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Add the lima beans and allow to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with rice.

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i'm thinking ox tail and short ribs can be prepared the same way. nina's recipe is simple, and i have something even more simple, i think.

brown the ribs in a heavy bottomed pot. remove. add celery and carrot and onion til softened. add 1 head garlic, 10 sprigs fresh thyme. add 1 can tomato paste to glaze. add 2 anchovies and 4 cups red wine and 2 cups chix stock. add short ribs, cover, put in oven at 400 and simmer till reduced to 1/4. strain, pushing juice out of solids, and return juice to pot. add cornstarch to thicken. not much really. serve with braised cabbage and watch people go ga-ga.

i probably missed something, but that is just the basic braised short rib recipe. it's just so freakin easy and good.

:smile:

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Nina, thanks for the recipe. I love oxtails in Jamaican restaurants. Have you ever heard of the use of that caramelized brown sugar syrup being used in their oxtail stews? (I ask because I use a little for brown stew chicken and it gives it that same dark color.) Also, if you can get hold of some West Indian seasoning peppers (they have flavor of scotch bonnets with very little heat), a little will add more to the dark flavor.

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I have nothing to add here except some exclamations about how fantasically delicious ox tail and short ribs are. I don't do them in this season so it will be a little while before I have them again. :sad::laugh:

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Have you ever heard of the use of that caramelized brown sugar syrup being used in their oxtail stews? (I ask because I use a little for brown stew chicken and it gives it that same dark color.)

Hi Toby,

Caramalized sugar is an old chefs trick,if your brown

stock is suffering from a blond moment,its added for colour.This won't be the case,you'll have all the rich

nectar from slow cooking these tails, you can handle.

And Tommy I would change the can of tomato paste to

a can of tomatoes.Paste would generally be the last resort in a very desperate situation.

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And Tommy I would change the can of tomato paste to

a can of tomatoes.Paste would generally be the last resort in a very desperate situation.

why do you say that? just wondering as they really are two completely different items. paste adds a rich color and subtle but deep flavor. canned tomatoes, to me, wouldn't achieve either. for me it's not about the tomato flavor necessarily in this dish. but i'm open to suggestions!

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my mother asked me to cook dinner for her and she wants ox tail. i have no clue what to do with it. any ideas.

One of my favorites

Oxtail stew

Season Oxtails ( 5-6 large) and brown in cocotte, or roaster. Add 3-4 whole garlic cloves, 1 cup dry red wine, 3 cups h20, 3-4 cups stock to cover, herbs & vegs ( I use leeks, scallions, ginger, shallots, carrots, chervil, lemon thyme, coriander give or take a few) and the secret ingredients - a spoonful of Ko chu jung "Korean chili paste" and a few healthy shots of soy sauce

let rip for 45-60 min at 350 or on the stove top in a rounder

Soup ? Strain jus and add to saucier with more beefstock. I serve with asian rice cakes (very similiar to pasta consistency - you can find in any asian store in a variety of shapes) and chopped chives or scallions

My last version -

I reduced the sauce down - threw in a cube of Demi - a little butter

Sauteed some shredded white cabbage in soy sauce, peanut oil, gresh ginger, and sesame oil - made a few rice flour scallion pancakes, sauteed some shitakes in butter and a hint of hoisin

Pulled the meat from the oxtails a la confit

Stuffed pancakes with meat, cabbage and shitakes and covered with sauce and a drizzle of chili oil

Mu-Shu oxtail I guess ? A nice whack of lime creme fraiche would have rounded it out but I'll try that next time

Matched better with the Chenin Blanc than the Gigondas I had because of the chili heat.

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It's more of a personal thing Tommy,I find the taste of tomato paste

very metallic and pasty.And I only mentioned to add tomatoes as a substitute,I normally add my smoked and semi oven dryed tomatos

when I'm looking for that extra depth.

Please don't take what I said personally,I hate canned products and

refuse to use them when it's at all possible.

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1. Oxtail is delicious; tastier than short ribs.

2. Because it is a tail, it tapers from the thick end attached to the ox's ass down to the skinny tip. When sold pre-sliced, you get discs anything from one to five inches in diameter. The bigger ones are thoroughly meaty, and those are the ones you want to make the stew.

3. Plenty of chopped onions and carrots for flavor. A bayleaf or two. Whatever other herbs you like.

4. Braise in a dark liquid - red wine or dark beer. Slow and for a very long time - three to four hours - until fork tender.

5. Skim. Oxtails give off lots of fat, and you should skim the surface of the stew occasionally. I use a little metal tea-strainer for this job.

6. It's better left overnight in the refrigerator, then gently re-heated (gives you another chance to scrape some of the fat off first). The liquid may well have set into a fairly stiff jelly under the surface of white fat - that's fine, oxtail is very gelatinous - and this will melt into a nice sauce again as you re-heat it.

Want to get fancy?

7. Unless your mother loves it served on the bone, take a sharp knife and (once it has cooled) winkle the chunks of meat off of the bone. This takes a little patience, as the bones are so irregular in shape, but it's not difficult. This gives you a stack of tender, juicy meat.

8. Warm the sauce, strain it (you can pick out the pieces of carrot to garnish the dish, of course - the onion will generally have melted) and reduce it over a high heat to the right consistency. If it's not thick enough, you can use the beurre manie method. If it's a red wine sauce, a splash of cognac at the last moment helps.

Serve it:

- The meat over mashed potatoes or polenta (rice even), the sauce poured around it.

- If you're confident with pasta, the meat, chopped up, makes a great filling for ravioli, or to layer in a lasagna.

- I made empanadas with the meat last week.

- For an appetizer, spread pieces of toast, or croutons, with a little pate or foie gras, top with pieces of meat, and spoon the sauce over.

- Pack the meat into a terrine, with the bits of carrot for colour, pour the sauce over (you have to have skimmed it very well, or this will be a greasy dish). Put a weight on top to press it down, and give it another night in the fridge. You now have a nice, jellied oxtail terrine to slice and serve cold with crusty bread and pickles.

- Finally, you want to be fashionable? Cook a fairly strong, robust fish - monkfish tail, for example - and serve it with the oxtail sauce and some little pieces of oxtail as garnish. Fancy restaurant stuff.

This has been brought to you by the Unofficial Oxtail Marketing Board, sole proprietor Wilfrid.

:wub:

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Oxtails, yum. I usually do them Jamaican-spiced.

One small addition to the fine recipes already submitted: this is a dish that benefits mightily from "aging" overnight in the fridge. For one thing, the flavors really blend. More important: oxtails have a lot of fat as well as lots of cartilage. Cartilage good (rich sauce), fat bad (too much, anyway). So if you let the dish chill, you can easily scrape off the excess fat.

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Have you ever heard of the use of that caramelized brown sugar syrup being used in their oxtail stews?  (I ask because I use a little for brown stew chicken and it gives it that same dark color.)

Hi Toby,

Caramalized sugar is an old chefs trick,if your brown

stock is suffering from a blond moment,its added for colour.This won't be the case,you'll have all the rich

nectar from slow cooking these tails, you can handle.

What I meant was a specific Jamaican technique used in stews where brown sugar is browned really dark in oil, and then the chicken/meat pieces are browned in the sugar-oil. The Jamaican oxtail stew I've eaten in Jamaican restaurants comes out really, really dark, and I think the sugar adds to the flavor and stickiness. There's a jarred product you can buy of the brown sugar-oil stuff; it's a little scary looking, though.

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Toby, it sounds close to a Dominican technique, known as al carbon. Get the oil hot in the pan, then put in a big spoonful of sugar. Sear the meat in this - carefully, and use a lid, because it hisses and spits more than somewhat - and you get a very deep brown, caramelized coloring.

We do it with chicken - haven't tried it with oxtail. Of course, the chicken you can just finish in the pan or in the oven; no need to stew it. The oxtail would sitll need a long braise after being carbonized.

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OK, just as soon as the temp dips below 90 degrees outside I am SO preparing oxtails, I cannot tell you. Although I must say I am partial to shank, and I do NOT mean a rudely-fashioned sharpened weapon expressed in jailhouse jargon.

Whither shank?

The composed dishes you describe, Wilfrid, are EXACTLY what I'm after, the pate + way cooked oxtail + reduced sauce over, and the terrine, which, after it's bunged in the fridge the temp can range over 90 degrees all it wants and still there's something exciting to eat ready to go.

Very productive discussion!

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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There's a recipe for Oxtail and Pig's Ear Stew served with a garnish of garlic cloves (from 2 heads), and boiled potatoes in Richard Olney's Ten Vineyard Lunches that's both sticky and unctuous, and delicious in cool weather.

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Although I must say I am partial to shank, and I do NOT mean a rudely-fashioned sharpened weapon expressed in jailhouse jargon.

Whither shank?

Priscilla, you are getting very avant-garde!

Heartened by the interest shown in my oxtail dishes, I will risk losing the audience by mentioning that I got the idea for the "over toast" version from an ancient dish I ate at Antoine's in new Orleans called Huitres a la Foch. This involved spreading toast with foie gras, topping that with oysters and finishing with a red wine (or was it port?) sauce. Tasty in itself, but you can ring the changes fairly obviously by substituting kidneys, oxtail, sweetbreads, morels or any number of good things for the oysters. Kidneys or mushrooms on toast are hardly a new idea, but it was spreading the toast with foie gras (or pate de foie gras, of course) which piqued my interest.

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Yes, exactly, Wilfrid, in what you describe it is the layer of liver product that is the...is the...is what is appealing.

The concept of rich-upon-rich is a, an, um, rich one. And I'm not surprised, either, at the provenance, they know from rich-upon-rich down there in New Orleans. Wow sweetbreads that would be right up there. I am so adding this into my ongoing exploration of this concept.

(Yet another thing I like about the criminally undercredited Paul Prudhomme, his mind-blowing flavor layering--like all the best things, history and tradition refracted through a good mind.)

It's why Morimoto is my favorite Iron Chef--he's very very good at rich-upon-rich. AND the history, tradition, & etc. bit.

Is it possible to "be getting" avant-garde?

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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Keller's treatment of oxtail in his French Laundry Cookbook is time consuming but really lovely. Get his exacting recipe from the book for a perfect rendition, or get much of the general feeling by marinating your trimmed, cut-up oxtail in red wine and minced carrot, celery, onion, garlic, parsley, thyme and bay overnight before braising.

eGullet member #80.

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