Braised Oxtail Ragù

2 Feb

There’s nothing like a slowly braised, rich, fall-off-the bone meat dish on a cold winter day.  Especially when you serve it over homemade pappardelle.  Too bad it hasn’t even been cold or wintery out!! (Who are we kidding, that is FINE by me!).  Regardless, I was in the mood for a wintery dish like this, and it turned out so delicious I would recommend it for any night of the year (preferably a weekend since this is a low-and-slow type recipe).

I had had a braised oxtail ragù dish recently at a local restaurant so I was anxious to try to make it myself at home, using this recipe from Osteria in Philadelphia, via Bon Appetit magazine.  Dishes like this at restaurants are so impressive, with such depth of flavor, but usually there are no fancy ingredients or techniques involved.  Just long and slow cooking to bring out the natural flavors.   And believe it or not, oxtail is not a hard-to-find ingredient.  I found it easily at my regular grocery store, which is not a gourmet store at all.

I wouldn’t call this a beginner-level recipe, but I wouldn’t say it’s advanced either.  All you have to do is read the directions and take the time to make it (it’s no 30 minute meal – so make it on the weekend!).  I highly suggest trying this recipe, even if you are intimidated – you and your friends will be very impressed, I promise!

The most labor-intensive part of this recipe was shredding the meat after it was cooked.  Oxtail has a lot of fat and cartilage and bone, which means there isn’t much meat.  Picking the meat off the bone takes time and a little patience, but it’s worth it.  Just make your kids (or husband) help you – men and kids don’t mind getting their hands messy, right?   If you can stand to wait, braising for longer than 2 hours may also help make this easier (just be sure that the liquid in the pot doesn’t over reduce – if so, add more broth).

Braised Oxtail Ragù recipe adapted from here

Yield: 4 servings at least (it is a very rich dish, you won’t be able to eat much!) Time: ~3.5 hours

  • 3 pounds oxtails (2-3″ pieces)
  • All purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 large celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, very coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes with added puree
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 fresh Italian parsley sprigs
  • 1 large fresh rosemary sprig
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups beef broth

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Sprinkle oxtails with salt and pepper:

Then coat them in flour. Heat oil in heavy wide ovenproof pot over high heat.  Add oxtails;  cook until brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to bowl.

Add celery,  carrots, and onion to pot.  Reduce heat to medium-high and sauté until vegetables brown, about 15 minutes. Add wine and tomatoes. Boil until thickened to chunky  sauce, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in garlic. Tie parsley, rosemary, and bay  leaves with kitchen string and add to pot.  Return oxtails to pot in single  layer (or as close to that as you can).  Add all broth; bring to boil.  Cover pot; place in oven.

Braise oxtails until very tender, about 2 hours.

Transfer oxtails to rimmed baking sheet.  Pull meat off oxtails, avoiding large pieces of fat and bone. Set aside.

Using potato masher, crush juices and vegetables  in pot to make a coarse sauce.

Add meat back to pot and season ragù with  salt and pepper.   Serve over gnocchi or homemade pappardelle.  Garnish with fresh parsley and shaved parmesan.

One Response to “Braised Oxtail Ragù”

  1. Susan May 15, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    I used your recipe a few months ago to make this dish for my friends! I don’t own a pasta maker so I ended up buying fresh papparedelle, which is definitely the perfect pasta to go with this hearty dish. They all loved it and think I’m an awesome cook. Thank you! :)

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