Wood Fired Oxtails Braised with Boletes and Tomato
Rich, succulent oxtails braised with bolete mushrooms and tomato.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Boletes, Oxtail, Stew
~ 3 lbs oxtails
½teaspoonfresh ground black pepper
½ozdried boletes or other mushrooms
3cupsmeat or mushroom stockwarmed
¼cupdry red wine
Pinchof crushed red pepper flakes
1dried bay leaf
½oz3 large cloves garlic
Dried mushroom gremolata (optional)
½ozdried mushroomspreferably whole slices
Small handful Italian parsley
A few scrapes of lemon zest
Wilted bitter greensespecially dandelions
Dry brine the oxtails
Season the oxtails all over with salt and pepper and allow to rest overnight (optional, but recommended for optimal flavor).
Brown on the grill
The next day, make a woodfired grill and brown the oxtails over the embers until browned all over. Take your time browning the oxtails.
Since you won’t eat the oxtails after they’re grilled, to save time, this is a good thing to do when you’re making a fire to cook a steak for dinner or something else, as you will eat the oxtails in the next couple days.
When the oxtails are browned, remove them and bring to the kitchen.
Preheat the oven to 275 F--perfect for a slow, gentle simmer.
For the braise, chop the onion carrot and celery into small pieces*, then puree for 60 seconds in a blender with the garlic, wine, stock, and tomato paste. Strain the mixture (optional, but helps keep the sauce velvety) then pour over the oxtails in a dutch oven.
Add the bay leaf and dried mushrooms, cover the pot and bake for 2.5 hours, or until the meat is tender and moves freely from the bone. Chill the pot completely overnight or at least until the fat is solidified. Remove the fat and discard, give to the birds, mix with the dog’s food, etc.
To serve, warm up the oxtails in their juice until hot. Spoon ½ cup polenta into each one of four deep, preheated serving bowls, along with a generous serving of wilted dandelions. Top each serving with a hunk of oxtail.
Meanwhile, taste the sauce, adjust as needed for salt and pepper, bring to a simmer , stir in the butter until dissolved, and reduce the sauce a bit if you’d like it thicker. Spoon some of the sauce over each portion of oxtail, reveling in the carnal delight that is an animal’s tail, garnish with the gremolata and serve.
The amount of vegetables here might seem tiny, but it's on purpose. They're just a background flavor for the finished jus, and too many vegetables could make the sauce gloppy instead of velvety smooth.