Sunday, April 21, 2013
The Leftover Parts
Tonight's specialty, oxtail. was one I have never cooked before though I've enjoyed it in soups and stews across Spain and Italy. I opted, as I often do, for an Italian preparation -- coda alla vaccinara, a Roman dish where the meat is long stewed with peppery pancetta and fresh tasting celery.
First I simmered the crosscut pieces in water for 10 minutes to make 2 cups of broth for the stew. I stirred 2 TB of tomato paste into the reserved stock and set it aside. Next, in a dutch oven, I sautéed the pancetta in olive oil and then added in the pieces of oxtail to brown on all sides. When the meat was browned I removed it from the pan briefly to make room to sauté chopped onions (I didn't have any carrots so I used both sweet and brown onions), parsley, and 4 cloves of garlic. When the vegetables were browned I added the meat back in and poured about 3/4 of wine into the pan. When the wine was reduced by more than 1/2 I poured in about 1.2 cup or so, S&P and the reserved stock. The stew simmered, covered, for 2 hours until the meat was moist and tender. As a last step I stirred 6 chopped stalks of celery and let the pot simmer, covered for 15 minutes more.
While the pot simmered I took a idea from boisterous Italian chef Mario Batali and mixed up a quick salad of celery leaves, chopped celery, lemon zest, chili flakes, cinnamon, and S&Pfor a bit fo fresh brightness to top our hearty stew.