March 18, 2009

Braised Oxtail

I may be weird, but my favorite thing about food is the story that it tells. Whenever I cook something special, I like the food to have a meaning and story behind it. Be it an inside joke or have a symbolic meaning, I like the meal to say something. So how does one sum the end of culinary school with a dish? The past few years have certainly been a journey of many ups and downs. A journey that looks simple from far away, but when you're actually involved with that process, you realize that there is so much going on. What's the perfect dish? It's different for everyone, but my story is braised oxtail.


Oxtails really don't get much play. In my grocery store, I find oxtails placed together with all the other forgotten delicacies such as tripe and tongue. It's a product that is looked over in favor of the more popular parts of the animal. Just like culinary school, it's not favored by everyone. Sure everyone enjoys it, but are they willing to put in the time and effort to make it?


In their simple form, oxtails can't really be used. They must be cleaned up; trimmed of the large chunks of fat. When you're done, there really isn't much meat to it. We must continue to transform it into something great. Next, we gather our aromatics; the basic ingredients that develop the flavor in the dish. In this case, it's mirepoix and bouquet garni. In culinary school, it's basic knife skills and culinary math. We don't stop there, we have to have a liquid that will bring all the ingredients together. Red wine and beef stock. Beef stock to echo and enhance the flavors of the oxtail and red wine for those term paper all nighters. Once we gather all our items, we start the process. Seasoning and browning the oxtails then caramelizing the mirepoix. Once it seems like the mirepoix is on the edge of burning (or giving up), we deglaze with red wine and beef stock. Everything quiets down and we place the oxtails back in the pot. Add the bouquet garni and place in the oven to be alone and work on itself. The process feels like forever. Every now and then, you feel like giving up and ordering out, but you don't. You continue to let all the ingredients work together and transform. Towards the end, you start notice and smell the change and finally it is time. You spoon it onto a plate and take a bite. It was all worth it.


So as I sit here drinking red wine, I wonder, what will be my next dish?



Awhile ago, I had seen a post on A2eatwrite's blog about an organization called bloggeraid and this organization is made up of foodbloggers trying to help the hunger issue all over the world. I've never been one for charities. Mostly because most of the money donated does not go straight to the cause but to administration and what not. The great thing about this project is that foodbloggers submit their recipes and photos and all the proceeds will be going towards the the World Food Programme(WFP). I had a few other recipes I was thinking of submitting, but I decided to submit the recipe for red wine braised oxtails. The book is set to come out around the end of this year, so I will be sure to purchase it.


If you would like to submit a recipe, the deadline is March 31st. (So close. I know)

17 comments:

5 Star Foodie said...

I love food that comes with stories too! And you are right that oxtails are so overlooked - I've never made it at home. It looks so wonderful and delicious!

Sara said...

I've never had oxtail before, but I've always wanted to try it. I need to pick some up at the store!

Forager said...

Yum - braised oxtail is so good! Reminds me of home cooked dinners. Great post btw - I like your writing style

mlle noelle said...

I just tried oxtails for the 1st time in February (see my blog post, there was definitely a story to it! ) :) I thought they were really good but I couldn't quite get over the amount of fat that cooks off, even after I trimmed them as best I could...

So you mentioned you are done with school? Are you headed back to this side of the state?

The Duo Dishes said...

Wooweeeee, that's a dish. Braised meat is so good. And oxtails...well, not much you can say besides yum. That dish looks irresistible.

Nila Rosa said...

5 star: It's definitely one of those dishes you feel proud about after you sit down to eat it. Same with osso bucco.

sara: Yay! You won't be disappointed.Not much meat on it tho, but still very good.

forager: Thank you. :)

duo dishes: It's definitely not for those looking to watch their waistline.

Maggie said...

The oxtails look fantastic! I love the metaphor you made between the dish and your time in school.

vincent said...

Hello,


We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM!!! YUM!!!.
We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com.

We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
enjoy your recipes.

Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
and benefit from their exposure on Petitchef.com.

To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use http://en.petitchef.com/?obj=front&action=site_ajout_form or just go to Petitchef.com and click on "Add your site"

Best regards,

Vincent
petitchef.com

Bellini Valli said...

Thank you very much for your submission to the BloggerAid cookbook. This dish will be a stunning contribution:D

Jo said...

Oh my does that look delicious! Well done! ;)

~~louise~~ said...

Nothing weird about telling a story through food. Not in my book anyway.

Your dish looks lovingly prepared with much reflection.

Thank you so much for sharing...

Nazarina A said...

I commend you on preparing and writing about this forgotten ingredient so eloquently!

alisa@foodista.com said...

I hope you get to write a cookbook someday,your photos are amazing and this dish just makes my mouth water.
Hope you wont mind but I'd love to direct Foodista readers to your site, just add this little widget here and it's all set to go. Thanks!

Ricardo said...

Lovely braised oxtail so deliciously made and presented definitely a 10 :) xx Rico-Recipes

Angela Mears said...

Oh my, this looks incredible. I've never made oxtail at home before but it's so savory, so fatty, so good.

nora@ffr said...

nice story.. gonna try this out soon.. lovely blog :)
cheers!!

vincent said...

Hello,


We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com.

We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
enjoy your recipes.

Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
and benefit from their exposure on Petitchef.com.

To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use http://en.petitchef.com/?obj=front&action=site_ajout_form or just go to Petitchef.com and click on "Add your site"

Best regards,

Vincent
petitchef.com

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