There is a wide range of meats that are often integral to ethnic dishes or regional foods. The lesser expensive cuts of beef fall in this category. With lots of connective tissue, they cook up meaty and luxurious in taste. I notice packs of them after the holidays in the meat department. Umm. what to make.
Oxtails are often ignored, and what a pity. When treated right — that is, when browned, then braised for a long time with a few flavorful ingredients — they are a rich and silky treat. Rabo means “tail” in Spanish, and this dish is indeed Spanish in origin. This spectacular dish comes from Julie’s friend Karin Schlanger, who grew up eating it in Buenos Aires, Argentina. When you are shopping for oxtail, try to get as many of the larger, meatier pieces as possible. Yes, saffron is a luxury item, but its fragrant richness elevates this humble cut of meat to superstar status.
Penzeys Spices, one of our favorite purveyors, (800-741-7787 or www.penzeys.com) sells saffron by mail-order at very attractive prices.
Cooker: Large Round or Oval
Machine Setting and Cook Time: Low Heat: 8 to 9 hours
Serves 8 to 10
1/4 cup olive oil
5 pounds oxtail
6 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons pepper
4 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1/4 cup water
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot,
add as many pieces of oxtail as will fit in a single layer, without crowding. Cook the meat until it is lightly browned on all sides, turning as necessary and removing the pieces to a plate as they are browned. When all of the meat is browned, add the carrots and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. To the vegetables in the skillet, add the salt, pepper, paprika and the saffron threads, crumbling them between your fingers. Stir to combine well.
Place about 1/4 of the vegetables into the crock. Add as many of the oxtail pieces as will fit in a single layer, laying them flat. Spoon in some more of the vegetables, then arrange another layer of oxtail pieces. Continue in the same manner, layering vegetables in between the oxtail pieces. When you have added all of the oxtail pieces, pour the rest of the vegetables and any liquid in remaining in the skillet into the crock. Add any juices from the plate that held the browned oxtails and the 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours.
Serve hot, with rice or mashed potatoes.
Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. (c) 2005/2017, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.
Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2017
Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.