All the Spokane food-related stuff that I can't figure out how to wedge into my other blog.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spicy braised ox tails

I've been into cheap cuts lately. I love braising cheap cuts. My buddy Adam taught me how to braise ox tails many years ago. It was probably 15 years ago. Before the Food channel outted cheap cuts, these cuts were actually cheap: flank steaks, hangers, brisket, shanks, ox tails. I'm thinking ox tails were less than a buck a pound at Don and Joe's in Pikes Place Market back then. I paid $4 a pound at Huckleberries yesterday.

Anyway. This preparation can also be used for lamb shanks if you're feeling flush. Braising makes these cuts super tender where the meat falls off the bone. Be sure to attempt to get the marrow too.

You can do all sorts of stuff with the resulting meat. You can just eat it. Or you can take it off the bone and stuff it into tortillas with fresh guacamole, a bit of cabbage and queso fresco. As it turns out, as I was out buying ox tail yesterday, Liza got a hankering for grits. She made them in a crock pot with some chopped spinach, diced onions, minced jalapeno, and a bit of jack cheese. Pretty much a perfect platform for these spicy ox tails.

Tip: Don't chop the chipotle in adobe on your cutting board.
This recipe serves two hungry people, or you could stretch it to four with some salad and stuff.

  • 2 lbs of ox tail sections
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 12 oz can of chopped tomatoes with chilies (don't drain off liquid)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 can of chipotle in adobe sauce, chopped

  1. Set oven to 325 F.
  2. Salt and pepper the ox tails verily.
  3. In a non-reactive pot, sear the ox tail over medium-high heat in a bit of canola oil. Brown all sides, don't crowd them. As they brown, set them aside.
  4. Pour off the beef tallow so just a tablespoon or so remains.
  5. Add chopped onions and carrots and stir until just soft.
  6. Add red wine and scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan.
  7. Add tomatoes and chipotle and bring it to a boil. If it's watery, cook it down a bit.
  8. Add ox tails to pot. They shouldn't be totally submerged. If they are, cook it down a bit more, or move it to a shallower pan.
  9. Put the lid on the pot and load it in the oven.
  10. Cook it for 3 hours. You can hold it for an hour or two after it's done in a 150 F oven.

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