I am currently in the midst of making Chinese-style Braised Oxtail.
It’s sort of a mish mash of a couple of different variations of Jennifer McLagan’s recipe from the awesome book Bones: Recipes, History and Lore.
Having said that, I really would love a copy of her new book Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes.
Anyhow, after skimming a few recipe adaptations, I’ve come up with the recipe below that I’ve cobbled together for the crockpot and finishing it in the oven as opposed to doing it in the oven the whole time. ‘Cuz that’s the way we roll around here. (HAH!) This recipe, as with the original, takes two days to prepare so be forwarned! Even as I sit here (eating leftover crepes with black forest ham & havarti) the smell is absolutely fabulous. Daddy better like the hard work I’ve put into family dindin for tomorrow night ^_-
To sum up: If you aren’t shy about loving a good gnaw at a few bones, take a chance to check out of Bones or even Fat, to boot.
Chinese Style Braised Oxtails
5 to 6 pounds oxtails, cut into pieces, fat trimmed
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1½ tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups water
1 star anise, broken into pieces
2 Tbsp fermented black beans
5 garlic cloves, peeled, minced
5 slices fresh ginger
1 orange, 4 large strips of zest removed with a vegetable peeler and reserved
3 scallions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths, plus 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish
Cooked rice, for serving.
* Season oxtails with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, brown oxtail all over, removing each piece to crockpot when done. Add oil as needed.
* When done browning, pour off extra fat from bottom of empty pot, leaving about a tablespoon, and set pot over high heat. Add fermented black beans, garlic & sliced ginger. Stir until softened, mashing the ingredients together to release their fragrance. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. In a bowl, mix soy sauce and sugar with 2 cups water and pour into pot. Add star anise, 2-inch pieces of scallions, ginger and garlic and bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Pour sauce over oxtails in crockpot and add orange zest.
* Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or until very tender.
* Transfer oxtail pieces to a baking dish. Strain sauce into a separate saucepan; discard contents of strainer. Cover oxtails and sauce with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
* The next day, heat oven to 300 degrees; remove oxtails and sauce from refrigerator. Lift off any fat on surface of sauce and discard. Gently warm sauce until liquid, then pour over oxtails. Cover with foil or a lid and bake 30 minutes.
* Uncover, stir and raise oven temperature to 400 degrees. Cook, uncovered, 15 minutes. Stir again and cook another 15 minutes, until hot and glazed thickly with sauce.
Optional: Squeeze ¼ cup juice from orange. Remove oxtails from oven, stir in orange juice.
* Serve in bowls over rice. Sprinkle each serving with thin scallion slices.
Yield: 4 servings.