making food from anywhere, with anything

how big are oxs’ tails?

Good evening everyone.

It seems as though the rain in Boston is finally over, just in time for the marathon.  Fortunately, my apartment is located right along the route, so tomorrow shall be quite interesting!

After a very stressful weekend, I decided to make something savory and delicious for dinner tonight.  Something involving red wine and braising in the oven.  In my effort to get rid of as much food as possible within the next two weeks, I dug some oxtails out of the freezer.  Perfect.

oxtails braised in red wine

I don’t know the chemistry behind this, but red wine develops the most unctuous, decadent, luscious flavor once the alcohol has cooked off.  And when braised for 3 1/2 hours in the oven with vegetables and your meat of choice, it becomes the most velvety, savory sauce.  It blows my mind every single time.  Seriously, every time.   This is a dish I can get enthusiastic about.  The meat literally pulls right off the bone, which is an accomplishment for oxtails.  The meat is pretty tough, so getting it tender is a challenge.  I’ve stewed oxtails in the past to a degree of success, but never have I had oxtails so tender as these.  Braising in the oven is truly the way to go.

Oxtails Braised in Red Wine, adopted from here

2 meaty oxtails
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 large carrots, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon sweet or hot Spanish smoked paprika
3/4 cup red wine, such as a Shiraz
1 can of diced tomatoes (no salt added)


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.

Cook 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 add salt and pepper to taste.

I made some spaghetti with this dish, as you can see.  It made a good accompaniment, especially with the sauce.

Some of you may gawk at the 3 1/2 hours it takes to cook.  Don’t judge, your efforts are rewarded.

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