Red Wine Braised Oxtail

Red Wine Braised Oxtail

Oxtail seems to be getting more love nowadays, even making an appearance in the refrigerated section of Costco. The meat of an oxtail bone is succulent when cooked correctly – meat falling off the bone tender. Braising is the best cooking method as it allows time for the oxtail to cook and become tender and infuse itself with whatever flavors your heart desires.

Ingredients:

  • 2 750 ml bottles dry red wine
  • 12 oxtail pieces (approximately 6 pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of unsalted butter
  • 5 shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch of parsley stems
  • 4 cups beef broth

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  • In a saucepan , boil the wine until reduced by about half.
  • Season the oxtails with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a pot that’s large enough to hold all the oxtail over high heat and brown the oxtail on all sides. Set the browned oxtail to the side.
  • Add the vegetables and 1 tablespoon of butter to the pot and still until softened.
  • Add the oxtails back into the pot and pour in the reduced wine, herbs, and enough broth to just cover the oxtails. Bring to a boil and braise the oxtails in the oven for 3 to 3.5 hours until meat is tender.
  • Remove oxtails with a slotted spoon on to a serving dish and keep warm.
  • Strain the sauce through a sieve and discard the solids. Boil the remaining liquid until thick and reduced. Stir in the remaining butter and use as a sauce.

Notes:

  • Most red wine recipes call for dry red wines such as  Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz/Syrah, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc.
  • Though the recipe calls for a specific amount of oxtail, the goal here is to just cover the oxtail with the sauce base. Depending on the size of the oxtail, it may take more or less pieces.
  • I usually skip any parts of the recipe that call for additional work that wouldn’t compromise the final product. For example, the original recipe calls for roasting the oxtail in the oven prior to cooking it on the stove. This is a move that’s primarily seen in Europe an style cooking. The claim is that the heat extracts more flavor from the bones than just dumping it into a pot of boiling water, but my guesstimate is that the difference between the two method is subtle.
  • A problem with oxtail recipes is that the caveat of cook until done is more important than with most recipes. A perfect oxtail is one where the meat falls off the bone.

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