Monday, April 18, 2016

Red Wine Oxtail Stew / Oxtail Bourguignon (紅酒燴牛尾)

Fresh and meaty oxtail, red wine, rosemary, garlic, onions, tomatoes. By reading the list of ingredients, you know this makes a great french stew.

This slow-cooked oxtail meat is so soft and melting, and drenched with rich red wine sauce. This insanely delicious comforting food is absolutely perfect for parties and family gathering!

Be it Red Wine Oxtail Stew or Oxtail Bourguignon, or French oxtail stew, they are technically the same, although some could argue that they are different. Each family has different style of cooking Oxtail Stews. List of ingredients may vary. Some prefers more spices, some prefers basic flavors. French braise them with red wine and mushrooms, and it can be beef or oxtail or veal.

There's no lack of Oxtail Stew recipes online. But mine has shorter list of ingredients tho. So, it's easier to achieve. Everything is available in Cold Storage. But it does not means that this stew is effortless. Mashed potatoes would make the perfect side dish to complement oxtail stew.

Although oxtail is regard as cheap cuts in some country, but in Singapore? No. Not really. Oxtail is expensive in Singapore. In some restaurants in other countries who serves this dish in a peasant way, especially French, and slowly going into haute cuisine. But not yet there, and we're not sure if they will be there or not, unlike Beef Bourguignon.

  • 1.5kg Fresh Oxtail
  • 3 tbsp Plain Flour
  • 4 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 2 Large Yellow Onions
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Fresh Tomatoes
  • 2 cans Whole Peeled Tomato
  • 2 sprig Rosemary
  • 400ml Red Wine
  • 400ml Beef Stock
  • some Spanish Chorizo chunks, about 7 inches long (Optional)
  • 2 tsp Ground Black Pepper 
  • 2 tsp Salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Ketchup 
  • some coriander leaves as garnishing
  1. Coat oxtails with 3 tbsp of plain flour evenly. In a french pot, heat up 4 tbsp oil, and give oxtail a nice sear until brown on every side. Remove oxtail and set aside. 
  2. Throw in chopped onions, and garlic into the same pot. Saute until onions are soft. Add in fresh tomato wedges and whole peeled tomato can. Fry for another few minutes until tomatoes slightly softened.
  3. Add in browned oxtails, arrange them nicely on the pot, ensuring each piece is at the bottom, while the tomatoes is on top. 
  4. Add in carrots, rosemary, red wine, beef stock, spanish chorizo and ground black pepper. 
  5. Let it simmer on the stove for 30mins, and transfer the pot into a baking tray, and send the pot into pre-heat the oven to 170 Degree Celsius for 1.5 hours. Do check for splatters and spillage. Reduce to 160 Degree Celsius if there's a need. 
  6. Leave oxtail stew aside and let it age for a night. Remember to reheat it before going to sleep. 
  7. On the next day morning, add salt, reheat the stew pot and let it simmer for another 30mins or upto 1 hour. 
  8. Scoop away the top layer of fats. Add in tomato ketchup and give it a stir before taste test. Adjust saltiness accordingly, and the stew is ready to eat.
  9. Optionally, for more presentable looking stews (like mine); Extra effort is needed - Transfer all oxtails, carrot chunks and chorizo chunks from the stew juices. Stew juices will then be strained, and then reduced under flame until stew juice achieved desired thick consistency. Pour thick stew juice over oxtail, and reheat oxtail stew under flame before serving. Don't forget the coriander leaves :)
Here's the complete pictorial guide for your easy reference. I'm sure this series of pictorial guide could complement the method in writing and so as to achieve better understanding. 

Step 1 : Dust oxtail with flour and pan-sear it till brown color. This gives really good flavors to the oxtail stew. 

Step 2 : Be very sure that you do not wash the pot after searing the oxtail. We need those brown patchy mess! Just throw in onions, garlic, tomatoes, and give it a good stir fry.

Before you even start cooking, do select the right flameproof casserole french pot size for your dish. The pot size should be able to fit all oxtails in just nicely with little leeway for other ingredients to fall down to the bottom of the pot except liquids. Like this, you don't have to tie kitchen string around each oxtail piece to hold the meat on the bone which I find it extremely tedious.

Step 3 and 4 : Add in oxtails, ensuring oxtails are at the bottom. And then, add the rest of the ingredients except salt.

Max bought me some real good Spanish Chorizo from Spain sometimes ago. I added Spanish Chorizo into the stew. Why? Because Spanish Chorizo has its distinctive smokiness and deep red color from dried smoked red peppers. It gives really nice flavor to the stew. You may argue that this isn't French stuff. It's optional. You don't have to follow exactly the same. No strict rules here. You also may add some paprika for extra heat if you prefer.

I'm quite regretful for using 22cm french pot for this dish. When I send the pot into the oven, it splatters and spills. So, I transfer to a 24cm french pot after that. So, selecting the right pot size before you cook is really important.

Leaving oxtail stew to age overnight is the key to success. The flavors will infuse all over during aging process. And Le Creuset french pot hold heat amazingly. It still 'cooks' during the cooling down process.

Step 8 : This stew will gives you a thick layer of fats floating on top. Don't get freaked out. Don't remove those fats on the first day. Because fat layer on top prevents air going into the stew, and this also explains the stew keeps well overnight without keeping it in the fridge. Fats will only be removed on the day you consume the stew.

This dish can be done in a rustic way. It can stop at step 8, or boil a little longer if one wish. Or like me, you may proceed to put in extra effort to go to step 9. This also means you have to wash extra pot, sieve, and utensils.

Step 9 : Stew juices needs to be strained, and reduced under flame until desired thickness has reached before pouring over the oxtail stew. You may also do another taste test after the sauce is reduced, just incase you want to do any further adjustment. Tomato ketchup would be a good compliment to the stew juice.

Look at the end result. My oxtail stew will have a nice gloss with the reduced stew juices poured over. And sprinkle chopped coriander leaves over oxtail stew gives another level of attractive look.

Although steamed rice is a good option as a side dish, but I assure you, Oxtail stew is best eaten with mashed potatoes as a side.

My mashed potato recipe is very simple. Some Russet Potatoes, good slab of butter, some fresh milk, and season well with salt and pepper. And oh! don't forget to prepare some salad too!

Cooking method for this dish requires slowly simmering the oxtail in wine, tenderizing the meat that would have been too tough to cook in any other way. Total cooking time of my Red Wine Oxtail Stew is 3 hours, not counting cooling time, and aging time. The meat fall off the bone nicely, but still remain some chew. I'm absolutely satisfied. It's insanely delicious!!!

Thou this dish needs abit of patience to cook, but I assure you that this is worth every effort. Do give this dish a try. I'm sure you will love it.

No comments:

Post a Comment