Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ox Tail Tomato Sauce


I'll admit that I have very little experience with making Italian style pasta sauces, especially red sauces, but I wanted very much to make a sauce that not only tastes rich and comforting for Christa (who truly appreciates a good bowl of pasta), but would also be loaded with minerals, vitamins, and quality protein as well.  


For this, I decided to use an oxtail.  Why an oxtail?  Well, the short of the matter was that I already had the tail thawed out and ready to use, but with no beef stock on hand (whoops), my original plan of braising it as a stew was not destined to come to fruition.  What I ended up with was far better.

It was very good over pasta, but even better served over seared beef liver.

  • One ox tail
  • A bottle of red wine (like Cabernet Sauvignon in this case)
  • 40 ounces of diced tomatoes (approximately)
  • Half of a large onion
  • 6 cloves finely diced garlic
  • Dried oregano and basil
broiled ox tail
  1. Clean ox tail and place under broiler for just long enough to brown the meat.  The one that I used took only ~8 minutes to get some good color on it.  Remove the tail from your oven and let sit on the counter to cool enough for handling while you proceed with the base of the sauce.
  2. Pour 2 cups of wine into a sauce pot, and add the garlic and herbs.  Let this come to a boil to remove the alcohol.  Add the tomatoes and reduce to just barely a simmer.  
  3. Cut the ox tail into individual joint pieces and submerge them in the sauce.  Ensure that the pot will not come to a full boil (lots of steam and an occasional bubble breaking the surface are all that you're going for here.  Braise the tail pieces in the sauce for about 8 hours.  This is a good overnight process
  4. Remove the tail pieces from the sauce and pick all of the meat off of the bones.  Place the meat in a container and reserve in the refrigerator for now.  
  5. Dice the onion and saute in a little bit of tallow.  Add this to the sauce, and place the whole pot of sauce in the refrigerator to sit during the next phase of cooking.
  6. Take the bone pieces and bits of connective tissue leftover from the tails and place them in a small saucepan.  Add about a cup of wine to this pan, and enough water to completely submerge the bones.  Bring to a rapid boil for about 5 minutes, and then reduce heat to just barely a simmer.  Let this simmer for 8 more hours to soften the bones and draw out more nutrients from the stock.  By now, the bones should be losing some of their integrity.  I pulled them out at this point and mashed them with the poll of an axe before returning them to the wine for a few more hours in order to maximize the surface area.
  7. By now, you will have drained all of the minerals, vitamins, and flavor from the bones.  Strain the wine 'stock' through a cheese cloth and return to the saucepan.  Reduce to 1/3 original volume and then combine with the tomato sauce and meat that you had reserved earlier.  Let this simmer for a few more hours on low to allow the flavors to meld.  Toss with pasta and top with the shavings of a good aged raw milk cheese.

broiled tail pieces set into the wine to braise
Add enough tomatoes to submerge the meat.
slow cooked beef; picked off of the bones

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