Flavorful beef oxtails are braised in wine and chicken stock with mushrooms, leeks, garlic, and herbs. Plan ahead for this one so you can de-fat the dish before serving with noodles or mashed potatoes.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
5 to 6 pound oxtails
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup sliced leeks (white part only)
1 cup chopped carrots
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 ounce dried porcini or other dried mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for at least 30 minutes, drained and chopped
2 cups red wine
2 cups beef or chicken stock
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons coarse-grained mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the thyme, sage, salt, and pepper and sprinkle the mixture all over the oxtails.
In a Dutch oven or large casserole, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and brown the oxtail pieces, in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes on all sides, or until nicely colored. Remove the oxtail pieces from the pot with a slotted spoon as they brown.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pot and add the onions, leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot. Cook the vegetables for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Stir in the optional porcini or other dried mushrooms, the red wine, stock, and bay leaves. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 3 hours. Taste the meat to see if it’s quite tender and almost falling off the bone; if not, cook until tender. At this point you can cool and then refrigerate the oxtails in their sauce. After a day or two, remove the congealed fat from the surface. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook the oxtails for 20 minutes, until heated through, then proceed.
Degrease the sauce and remove the oxtails with a slotted spoon. If necessary, reduce the sauce over high heat to a syrupy consistency. Stir the mustard into the sauce, taste for salt and pepper, and return the meat to reheat it. Discard the bay leaves before serving the oxtails and sauce over noodles or mashed potatoes.
Yield: Serves 8