Slowly simmered for hours in an aromatic base of vegetables, meat stock and white wine, the oxtail, which is tough to begin with, becomes fall-off-the-bone tender and creates a full-bodied, rich stock. It is a nutritious, comforting stew suited for the end of a long day – and a growing preschooler.
Note: I almost always prepare this using a crock pot – prep the meat and vegetables in the evening, pop it into the fridge, and set it in the morning before you leave the house. You can also cook it on the stovetop for about 2-2 1/2 hours.
Roman Braised Oxtail, adapted from Apple, Pies, Patis and Pates
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
2/3 cup diced onions
2/3 cup diced carrots
2 1/2 pounds oxtail
1 cups dry white wine
1 cup chicken or beef stock
1/2 cup diced plum tomatoes
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
- To make the soffrito, iIn a wide saute pan or enameled dutch oven, combine the olive oil, parsley, garlic, onion, and carrots. Place over medium heat and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. The onions should be slightly translucent and the garlic pale gold.
- Push the soffritto base to the sides of the pan. Increase the heat to medium high and add the oxtail to the middle of the pan. Turn the oxtail pieces until lightly browned on all sides, about 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add the wine and simmer for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup water. The oxtail should be about halfway immersed after adding the water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours, or transfer to a crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
- Add the chopped celery and stir thoroughly with the other ingredients. Cover and simmer for another 45 minutes (or last hour in crock pot), or until the oxtail meat is tender and almost falling off the bone.
If serving immediately: Skim as much of the fat as possible.
If preparing ahead of time: Let the meat and stock cool to room temperature while uncovered. Cover and refrigerate overnight, for up to 3 days. Once thoroughly chilled, the rendered oxtail fat will congeal on top and is easily removable with a spoon. Remove the fat and reheat gently over medium heat to serve.