I guess you know you’re a food blogger when you post your Greatest Hits AND near misses!! This past Sunday, we tried Braised Oxtail, and, well, ok, I’ll just let you read about it . . .
I’ve never cooked Oxtail before, let alone this recipe, from the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. So what do the Mrs. and I do?? Obviously, we invite our (first) foodie friends Liz & Grant (with Daveman) over to come try this Gastronomical Adventure with us. I think Frank Costanza best summarizes this idea when he said,
“. . . I was arrogant, I was brash. I thought if I used just the right spices, cooked it long enough . . .”
Although Oxtail sounds like an exotic ingredient, you can probably find it in your neighborhood grocery. This is what 4 lbs of Oxtail look like before cooking.
The first step called for searing all sides of the OT in a little vegetable oil. After searing the Oxtail and setting aside, I cooked about 2 cups (each) of Diced Carrots and Onions and scraped up all the tasty oxen bits with Red Wine/Water and assorted spices (Thyme, Allspice).
The LOML and I are not Wine aficionados. The recipe called for a Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, or other “Robust” red wine. Staring at the wine selection at Publix, I chose the Giant 47 Pound Rooster. Both for its affordability (on Sale at $5.99) and its creative label (this is how I typically choose my wine in grocery stores). I still can’t tell you if it was robust, but it was Red, Cheap and didn’t come out of a Box.
Since our Le Creuset is a little guy (maybe 2 quarts), we finished the Oxtail in our Slow Cooker. Is there really a difference between Braising and Slow Cooking? According to Wikipedia, slow cooking (e.g., crockpots) is a form of braising, so this recipe should have worked, right?
The Lee Bros. said after about 3 hours the Oxtail meat should be very tender and falling off the bone. I checked in after three hours (when our guests arrived), and nope, still pretty tough. After four and a half hours, I made the executive decision and said it was dinner time. This is what my Braised/Slow-Cooked Oxtail looked like after 4.5 hours.
Theoretically, I should have been able to easily pull the meat off the bone and chop into bite size pieces before throwing back in the braising liquid (after skimming off some of the fat/oil first). This is how much meat I was able to pull off. Or rather, what meat I was not able to pull off.
Needless to say, Pheebes is very happy as these went in the freezer and she’ll be enjoying Gourmet, Slow-Cooked Oxtail bones for months to come.
After throwing the Oxtail meat back in the Slow Cooker, I added lemon juice and freshly grated ginger and cooked for a few more minutes. We served the Oxtail over Polenta with Sautéed Spinach and although it didn’t meet my expectations, I wouldn’t call it a complete loss.
Would I try cooking Oxtail again?? Maybe.
Will I subject my wife/friends to this experimental recipe again?? Probably Not.