Monday, January 23, 2012

Braised Oxtail (Rabo de toro)

This is a stew from the XVI century. Originally from Cordoba, like many dishes it has evolved through  the years. This recipe is a more modern version from the XIX century and it has many variations. The original oxtail wasn't from an ox but from a bull. After a bullfight they would butcher the bull and people would buy parts of it or if it was a remarkable bull it was auctioned off. Now the recipe is made with bull, ox, or veal. You can blend and strain the sauce in a chinoise (conical strainer) or just leave the carrots, and other vegetables untouched. Braising is the cooking process of browning the meat at the beginning of the cooking process to sear it and then using a long cooking process with liquid covering the meat until it falls from the bones. Usually is done with tough meats to cook to the point of tenderness. In this case it took 4 hours. The result is just fantastic.


4 pounds oxtail, cut in two inch thick rounds
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

3 carrots, peeled and cut in slices
1 medium onion
1 stalk celery
2 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons cured ham, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
1 bay leaf
1 cup white wine
3 tablespoons flour
2-3 tablespoons flour

In a deep pot, sear the meat in the olive oil until it turns brown. Cover the oxtail with water and then add the carrots, onion, celery, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, remove any foam, and then cover and cook on low heat for three hours. Remove the oxtails and reserve the liquid, skimming off the fat.  Clean out the pot and then put the oil in the pot to heat, followed the garlic, ham, onion, paprika and bay leaf. Sauté until the onion is translucent and then add 1 1/2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid and the cup of wine. Add the flour and stir well until the sauce has thickened. Return the oxtails to the pot, stir well, and taste for salt and pepper. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for one more hour. Serve with boiled potatoes or the vegetable of your choice.

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