Long out of fashion, oxtail—cattle tail that is typically cut across the bone into thick steaks—has lately experience something of a Renaissance as people have rediscovered that long, slow cooking turns this cut into a sensationally flavorful dish. Look for at it grocery stores that specialize in Latin American cuisine and specialty butcher shops. Accompany this rich one-pot dish with mashed potatoes and a green salad.
1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 lb. (1.5 kg) oxtail, cut into thick steaks by your butcher
6 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./90 ml) olive oil
1 large leek, white and pale green parts, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 fresh rosemary sprig
2 fresh oregano sprigs
3 cups (750 ml) dry red wine
2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) beef stock, or as needed
Put the flour in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the meat on both sides, shaking off any excess flour.
In a cast-iron casserole dish with a lid or a Dutch oven over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides. Using tongs, transfer the meat to a plate. Add the leek, bell pepper, onion, carrots and garlic to the pot and gently sauté until the vegetables are soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the bay leaves, rosemary and oregano and season well with salt and pepper.
Return the meat to the pot, pour in the wine and enough stock to just cover the meat, and bring to a boil. Skim any foam from the surface, then cover, reduce the heat to very low and simmer for 3 to 4 hours, stirring once every hour. The meat should be so tender that it literally falls off the bone. Remove and discard the bay leaves and herb sprigs and serve directly from the pot. Serves 6.
Find more than 100 recipes for the simple, unassuming and satisfying food of the Spanish countryside in Rustic Spanish, by Paul Richardson.