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Oxtail

Braising is back! Cold weather is here again and long cooking methods are perfect for making hearty meals to battle the weather.

I love braising cuts of meat that take hours to become tender, such as short ribs, beef cheeks, or oxtail. In the end, you're rewarded for your efforts.

This recipe for oxtail braised in red wine and aromatic vegetables, and finished with carrots, mushrooms, and chestnuts is autumn in a pot. It pairs perfectly with hearty red wines and brisk fall nights.

Roux:

50g Butter

50g Flour

Melt the butter in a small pot on medium heat. Add the flour and cook about 1 minute, stirring so it doesn't burn or change colors. Remove from the heat and let the roux cool.

Braised Oxtails:

1Kg Oxtail pieces

1 Onion, diced

125g Mushrooms, halved

1 Carrots, sliced thick

4-5 Garlic cloves, crushed

Bay leaf, Thyme, and Parsley stems tied together

Butter and Oil

1 Bottle red wine

Beef stock, unsalted

Salt and pepper

Cayenne, 1 pinch

1T Sugar

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil with a tablespoon of butter in a large, high-sided pan on medium high heat. Add the oxtail pieces and brown them on all sides.

Remove the oxtail and drain off the grease. Add the vegetables and herbs, and an additional tablespoon of butter, and cook until caramelized and golden brown, stirring up anything bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with the red wine and return the oxtail pieces to the pan. Add enough beef stock to come to nearly the top of the oxtail pieces, and grind some pepper and salt into the pan, along with adding a pinch of cayenne and the sugar to counterbalance the acidity of the wine. Cook at a simmer, topping up with stock or water when needed, if the liquid reduces too much. Cook until the oxtail is very tender but not yet falling off the bone, 4-5 hours for mine. During the entire cooking time, skim any scum or fat that comes to the top.

Once the oxtail has become tender, remove the pieces from the pan and reduce the sauce slightly. Thicken by stirring is some of the roux until the sauce has a richer consistency, and then strain the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the oxtail and strained sauce into a fresh pan or serving dish and check the seasoning one final time.

To Finish:

Chestnuts, shelled and precooked

2 Carrots, peeled and sliced thick on a bias

125g Mushrooms, halved

Finely chopped parsley

Sautee the mushrooms in a pan with a little butter. Season with salt and pepper, then add cooked chestnuts to warm through. Meanwhile, cook the carrots until just tender in boiling, salted water. Remove them and add them to the pan with the mushrooms and chestnuts. Season to taste and garnish your oxtail. Sprinkle a little chopped parsley on top and serve with roasted potatoes, potato puree, pasta, etc. Enjoy.

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