La Queue de Boeuf a la Bourguignonne – Braised Oxtails

These “melt in your” mouth oxtails have a really nice, rich dept of flavor. I wanted to keep the sauce deep and savory, so I omitted the red wine this time around.

Braising is the general term for all those cooking processes in which meat is very slowly simmered in the liquid and vapor of a tightly enclosed vessel. The long, slow cooking produces a gradual and subtle melding of flavors through the medium of that lovely simmering liquid

So I got a request to cook oxtails for dinner, and of course I was not opposed. The last time I cooked oxtails, was the second week of February, when we hosted a luncheon for a dozen or so very good, close  friends. I was pleased that they enjoyed them. However, Mr. Hubbs didn’t get his fill (we generally let our guests enjoy the food when we host a luncheon) and he’s been wanting a nice plate of oxtails  since. Who am I not to oblidge?? So oxtails it was!

 Bourguignonne suggests that part or all of my braising liquid was red wine. However, this time around I omitted the red wine, settling instead for beef stock. I simply wanted the taste of the oxtails shining through without the hint of red wine. Thus, the deep color you observe

Served with Portobello Mushrooms stuffed with Thyme Mashed Potatoes & Black-eye peas…the cornbread was not far off

Ahhhh…there they are, the oxtails…washed and patted dry, ready to be seasoned

Seasoned with salt, pepper, onion & garlic powder, Kirklands no salt seasoning, just a tad of Tuscan seasoning, and fresh thyme. I covered them with plastic wrap, and place them in the fridge overnight…then the next day, removed them from the fridge and allowed to attain room temp before cooking

Into a hot pan to sear on all sides. Searing on high heat brings the interior of the meat to a desired degree of doneness. You’ll need a heavy bottom skillet or Dutch Oven that can go into the oven…unless you’re using a stove-top simmering method to cook them. I used a deep cast iron skillet. Generally I’ll dust the oxtails with a little flour before searing, but this time I omitted the flour

Flip and sear the other side. I also turned them to sear all surfaces

Removed from the skillet after searing

To the skillet, I added some sliced onion and shallots

Sauteed the onion and shallots while scraping all those bits of tasty goodness from the skillet left over from those oxtails

In goes chopped garlic (4 cloves), a few bay leaves, and a bundle of thyme…saute until the garlic is oh so aromatic…I can tell you this…the kitchen was smelling so good  🙂  Now this is the point where–if I was adding red wine, it would be right now. But I left it out this time, because I’m going for a dark, rich flavor devoid of the flavor that red wine would add. Besides..I most often cook with wine, so this is a nice differentiation

Place the seared oxtails on top of the sauteed onions, shallots, and garlic

Add beef stock (or broth). Just enough to come up 3/4 way of the meat…not covered over the top.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil, place the top on the skillet, and into a 350 preheated oven for about 2 1/2 t0 3 hours…or until those oxtails are nice and tender

All done. Remove them from the liquid and place on a platter. Now the braising liquid will have a good amout of fat or clear oil on top of the heavier elements. We want to get rid of of much of this as possible…we want to “degrease’ the braising liquid. Frankly, fat plays a valuable role during the braising process. It improves the flavor and helps keep the meat moist while its cooking. In any event, as you can see here, the liqid fat is lighter than the stock and floats to the surface and must be removed to ensure that the sauce will taste good and not be greasy. To collect the fat from the surface, you can spoon/or ladle away shallow fat by tilting the pan enough to allow the fat to flow onto a spoon, while being careful not to drain off any of the braising liquid. Another method is to allow the liquid to chill, then lift off the solid fat with a spoon. Either way, you want to remove as much of the fat as possible from the braising liquid. Blot off any remaining fat by folding some paper towels together and lay it briefly over the surface of the liquid. You will notice the absorbtion

Remove the bay leaves and bundle of thyme

Cook down a tad over medium heat. At this point, you can add about 1 Tbsp of flour or jussssst a little more, stir while cooking, and then add more stock (broth or water) to stretch it out more. Usually just before this point I’ll strain out the onions, garlic, etc., to make a smooth sauce (or you can puree any veggies uses and add back), but again with this time around I did some omitting. I wanted some texture to the sauce. I’m going for that thick, rich, dark flavor for these oxtails. I did add about1 Tbsp of flour, thinned with plain’ol water because the flavor was really concentrated. Salt & pepper to taste

Braised Oxtails–served with black-eye peas and Portobello Mushroom Caps stuffed with Thyme Mashed Potatoes

La Queue de Boeuf a la Bourguignonne, sans vin rouge (without red wine)

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