Braised oxtail with wine for hours is tender and juicy. When I was a little girl growing up in Germany when we had Oxen Shvantz Suppe it was always a real treat. They are wonderful on a cold, rainy winter day.
What are oxtails, you ask? Well, they are the tail of an ox or steer which is cut into 2 to 3-inch pieces. They are very meaty and make a nice gravy, all on their own. How do you eat oxtails? You get most of the meat out with your fork, then you pick the piece up and suck all the goodness out of the bone. A bone bowl is a good thing to have on the table when you are serving oxtails.
When you go to buy oxtails, be sure and get them from a reputable butcher. The bony part should be bright white, the sinew pink, and the meat should be nice and red. I was lucky, my butcher brought out a tail and cut it there in front of me with his incredibly sharp knife. You can’t get any fresher than that.
Because they do take a long cooking time to get tender, they are perfect for a slow cooker. However, there is some prep work involved, you can’t just throw them in a pot and expect them to be good.
They should be dredged in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. I usually use a grocer’s plastic bag, put the flour and seasonings in, then the meat, and shake the heck out of it. Then after removing the meat, I can throw the whole shebang in the trash.
The best thing is to make a mire-poi out of chopped onions, garlic, bell peppers, and carrots.
Saute the aromatics in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Then when you brown the tails, they will absorb some of that wonderful flavor. Be sure not to crowd the tails, you will probably have to do them in batches.
Be sure and deglaze the pan with the wine, so you get every bit of caramelized goodness to put in the crockpot.
You can then put the tails, and mire-poi into the pot. I like to add red pepper sauce, available at Armenian and Mediterranean stores.
Finally, add crushed peeled tomatoes and herbs. I added Italian seasoning and thyme to mine, you can add what spices you like. I put my ox-tails in the refrigerator overnight so they could soak up some of that goodness, and then slow cooked them in the morning.
Let’s Make Braised Oxtail Soup
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- 4 pounds oxtails, bone-in
- ½ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups red wine
- 3 tablespoons Red pepper paste
- 1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 1 ½ teaspoon *beef base
- 1 ½ cup Water
- Have ready a crockpot and your mise en place.
- Dredge the ox-tails in the flour, salt, and pepper. Set aside while cooking the vegetables.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant and has started to get translucent. Do not let it burn. Add the onions, carrots and bell pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent.
- Add some of the oxtails to the pan, being careful not to crowd the pan. Brown on all sides. Put those browned pieces into the crockpot, and brown the rest of the tails adding them to the pot.
- Deglaze the pan with half of the wine. Make sure you get all the brown goodness. Add that to the crockpot, too.
- Add the pepper sauce.
- Add the tomatoes and herbs.
- Put the crockpot in the refrigerator and refrigerate at least 3 hours, if not overnight.
- Put the crockpot into its base and turn it on.
- Add the remaining wine.
- Add enough beef stock so that the ox-tails are covered.
- Put the cover on the crockpot and put it on low.
- Cook for 10 to 15 hours or until the meat falls off the bone.
- Serve over noodles.