- Serves: 6 to 8
- Active Time: 1 hr
- Total Time: 3 hrs - 6 hrs
- Views: 64,056
- Success Rating: 95% (?)
To start, preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C). You can cook this dish at a higher temperature if you like, but we like the slow and low approach for braising meats. Refer to the lesson on Braising.
Next, heat a suitable-sized pot over medium-high heat. In the meantime, liberally season the oxtail with salt and pepper. Once the pot is hot, add the oil and sear the meat on all sides until nicely browned. You may have to sear in batches. As the meat browns, you can jump ahead to the next step and prepare the mirepoix.
Once the meat is done, remove it from the pot and set it aside while you caramelize the mirepoix.
To prepare the mirepoix, roughly chop all of the vegetables and emince the garlic.
With the heat at about medium-high, add the oil, followed by the onions, celery and carrots. Once the mirepoix has browned a bit, add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so.
Lastly, sprinkle or singer the mirepoix with the flour, making sure there is enough oil in the pot so the flour doesn’t burn. Let it cook for about a minute.
Cook the ragu for about 3 to 6 hours or until the meat is fork tender.
Make Ahead Note: If you like, you can cool the dish once it has cooked and then refrigerate it for the next day. The next day, remove the excess fat from the surface and then gently reheat.
If making and serving the same day, be sure to remove any excess fat from the surface.
At this point, you can either puree the mirepoix into the sauce (remember to remove the bouquet garni first) or you can strain it for a more refined look and taste. If straining, be sure to press out any excess flavor and liquid from the mirepoix.
To finish the sauce, check the consistency. If needed, add a bit of roux or slurry. Add it bit by bit until you reach the desired consistency.
Next, check for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper as needed.
To prepare the mushrooms, first clean them and then cut them into large, bite-size pieces.
*Note: Button, crimini or other wild mushrooms (i.e. porcini) or any combination can be used. You can also use dried wild mushrooms. If using dried mushrooms, rehydrate them first and add them to the sauce once it is strained (if you don’t plan to strain the sauce then the mushrooms can be added directly to the ragu as it cooks, no need to rehydrate). Of course, you can always leave the mushrooms out altogether, if you like.
Next, heat a large stainless-steel pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and butter followed by the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Saute for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms have released all of their excess moisture and started to brown/caramelize slightly.
To serve the ragu, fold the mushrooms into the braised meat and serve with your favorite pasta. This dish is great with semolina gnocchi or creamy polenta.
- by Dawn Thomas
- February 15, 2010
Not only is this delicious poured over any type of pasta or polenta, it also makes a great filling for stuffed pasta, such as ravioli.
Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. It can also be frozen.
I've noticed grapeseed oil in the ingredient list of many recipes. is this another word for canola? Can ghee be substituted? Or perhaps sunflower oil? Canola is a GMO, and I prefer to avoid it. Thanks
This very popular subject has been covered in many other threads. In short, generally you can use what ever you like. Cheers!
We feel badly writing our first thoughts as negative ones. All of your recipes have been great! We have tried so many of them and Don has loved learning to cook with your website. However, this was our first dish that Rouxbe let us down. The oxtail was expensive, the chanterelles were expensive, and the overall taste was very bland, despite putting in the bouquet garni, which we picked from our own organic garden. But the batting average is still 99.9% so we say, thanks Rouxbe and keep up the good work!
Rouxbe StaffThanks for your feedback. Sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy the dish; however, this is where you can use the skills and techniques from the Combination Cooking lessons in the cooking school and begin to create your own twists and add flavors that will enhance the dish to your liking. Not saying you did this, but sometimes if a not-so-flavorful stock is used or the seasoning is a bit off, it can make a huge difference in the dish. Glad you are enjoying the site and hope you have continued success. Cheers!
It is reminiscent of a beef short rib recipe that I made last winter. I think the big difference (aside from the addition of the chanterelles) is the texture of the meat. The oxtail is just a little bit firmer than short ribs. Overall, especially if homemade beef stock is used -- it is very richly flavored. I found the price of ingredients to be on par with short ribs (generally considered an inexpensive cut of meat.) I spent about $13 on the oxtail at a local Asian market. I spent just under $9.00 for the chanterelle mushrooms because they are currently in season in our local stores. A couple of things I would change if making this again: 1.) I used 2 TBS oil (2-4 was the recommendation) to sear the oxtail, and then to saute the mire poi. In my opinion, this was too much. The oxtail was very fatty, and so without draining off the oil/fat mixture, the mire poi was too saturated to deglaze with wine after sauteing. 2.) I would cook the chanterelles in 1/3 cup of dry sherry before adding to the ragu. I felt that the chanterelles got a little "lost" in the richness of the sauce. I think the sherry would help distinguish the mushrooms from the rest of the sauce. 3.) I would use a base other than polenta for this dish. Personally, I liked the polenta, but my husband felt that it was just "wrong" (I made a soft, smooth polenta with plain water and seasoned with fresh oregano and garlic. Despite the savory spices, he still thinks polenta is better for "morning food", than for a base on a main dish. Oh well, it was worth a try.
I would consider adding some gorgonzolla crumbles to top the ragu to add a little extra "pop" to the flavors.
Braised the oxtails in red wine and veal stock for the full six hours at 200F the day before and strained the sauce rather than puréed the mirepoix. Then thickened the sauce with a little roux made from the fat that solidified on top of the sauce overnight. Texture and flavor were fantastic. I served it with polenta that had a bit of white cheddar mixed in and garnished with chives and fried sliced shallot for some crunch. This is definitely a meal for a cold winter night. Delicious but very rich and filling.
I love this recipe. It is really comfort food at it's finest! This time, the chanterelles were no longer on sale ($14.00/lb at my local store) so I decided to substitute them with oyster mushrooms. I cooked the oyster mushrooms with 1/4 cup of dry sherry and then added it to the braising sauce. I was surprised. I actually liked the oyster mushrooms better in this dish. They have a chewier texture, which I think stands up nicely to the firmness of the oxtail. The other change that I made was cooking my roux slurry (oxtail fat & flour) to a chocolate brown color (approximately 10 minutes) before adding the sauce, and then I reduced the sauce for about 30 minutes to attain the thicker texture that I wanted. I really enjoyed the added depth of color that this modification made. I served this dish with a spicy, curly kale & carrot salad (fresh garlic, ginger, sesame oil & aioli dressing), which was a rich enough accompaniment to negate the desire for a cheese topping (I love gorgonzola, so this is the cheese that I would otherwise use for crumbles on top -- or for a side salad) to compliment the richness of this dish.
Would it make sense to substitute ham hocks for the oxtails???
Hi Robert, Good question. If you are looking for a pork product substitution, you could go with a fresh (not smoked) ham hock or find a pork "osso bucco" cut. it will react very similarly in the braising process for this recipe. Good luck! Cheers, Sandy