Sunday, 13 September 2009

Oxtail with Rioja and Chorizo

I've admired a particular recipe in the second Moro cookbook, 'Casa Moro' for some time. I've studied the accompanying photograph of the finished dish more times than is probably healthy, and often wondered what it tastes like. But, I've just never got around to cooking it. The dish is 'Rabo De Toro con Rioja' or for those who donta speaka EspaƱol (Who me?) it's 'Oxtail with Rioja and Chorizo'.

The reason why so far I've only admired this dish from afar, but never actually cooked it is the fact that it involves two cooking sessions on subsequent days. Two hours in the pot stewing on day one, a night in the fridge to improve the flavours, and then another 30 mins cooking with the chorizo on the second day. Call me lazy, but it just seemed like too much effort.

But, for all that, I love Oxtail and the recipe is always there, lurking in the (admittedly) mostly empty recesses of my mind, just waiting for the chance to burst forth into my kitchen. That opportunity finally arrived last week when Abel & Cole sent me some Organic Oxtail to try.

The Oxtail, seemingly delivered at the crack of dawn (I noticed the box left outside the front door as I left for work) was as before (see Chicken) well protected in a polystyrene cool box with frozen gel packs to keep it cool. So far, so good. The actual Oxtail was a selection in a pre-packed plastic package, labelled with the farm which supplied it (Manor Farm, which the A&C website informs me is in Wiltshire).

Studying the contents, the major drawback about ordering something like this online became evident. Everyone likes nice meaty chunks of Oxtail, If I was buying it at the butchers - that's what I'd pick out. But the A&C package had a few large chunks but also some smaller pieces, which I certainly wouldn't have chosen at the butchers. I know it's probably a waste thing, and it's the whole tail - but, and this is the point, when ordering meat online through A&C or one of their competitors, until it arrives you have no idea what pieces your actually getting.

That small niggle aside, onto the actual recipe:-

Oxtail with Rioja and Chorizo
Serves 4-6

You'll Need:-

The Day Before....

3 Tbs Olive Oil
1.5Kg Oxtail sliced into 5cm chunks
1 Carrot, cut into chunks
1 Onion, quartered
1 Celery stick, cut into chunks
5 Black Peppercorns
2 Bay Leaves
4 Sprigs of fresh Thyme
4 Cloves
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Bottle red Rioja
10 Parsley Stalks
Sea salt and black pepper

On the Day of Eating....

2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, finely diced
1 Medium Carrot, finely diced
120g Cooking Chorizo, cut into 1cm rounds.
2 Tbs Plain Flour
1 Tsp Sweet Paprika
1/4 Tsp hot Paprika (or dried red chilli flakes).
1/4 Tsp Fennel Seeds, ground.
1-2 Tbs Tomato Puree

The day before, heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat. Season the Oxtail, and brown well on all sides. (You'll probably need to do this in batches).
Remove the Oxtail from the pan, putting to one side, and pour off the excess fat, before adding the carrot, onion and celery.
Fry for 5 minutes until starting to colour and then add the peppercorns, bay, thyme, cloves and garlic.
Fry for 2 minutes.
Return the Oxtail to the pan, add the Rioja and Parsley Stalks and cover with water.
Bring to a gentle simmer on a low heat and cook until tender (around 2 hours or possibly longer) adding water if the liquids boil down below the top of the meat.
The Oxtail is ready when the meat can easily be pulled from the bone, but not so soft it falls off on its own.
Transfer the Oxtail to a bowl, and strain the juices through a sieve over the meat. Cool and put in the fridge overnight.

On the day of eating, remove as much fat as possible from the chilled Oxtail (Don't throw it, put it in a container, freeze it and use it to roast potatoes in perhaps).
Heat the Olive Oil in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat. When hot, add the Onion and Carrot, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Chorizo and fry for five more minutes. Stir in the flour, fry for a couple more minutes and then add the Paprika's, Fennel Seeds, and Tomato Puree.
Add the Oxtail with its stock to the pan and season with salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
Serve with Mash Potatoes, or as is usual in Spain, Fried Potatoes.

So, there's the recipe. What did it taste like?
Gorgeous. The ultimate comfort food served with Mash, the gravy was rich, the Oxtail extremely tender and falling from the bone. Perfect grub as the nights are getting colder and we start to move into Autumn.

But what was even better, although perhaps slightly risky was, having some cooked Oxtail and loads of the beautiful gravy leftover, pulling the meat from the bone, refrigerating and re-heating the next day. Serving it again with Mash.
I was in two minds about this, as it meant I'd be chilling and re-heating the Oxtail twice - which probably isn't the best idea.....but, and it's a big BUT, it tasted so good. I just couldn't waste it, and thought it was worth the risk. I'm so glad I did, because if anything it tasted even better the second day. The Gravy you get from Oxtail is like nothing else.

So in conclusion, the Moro Recipe is indeed the cracker I suspected, well worth the two day effort. Abel & Cole's Oxtail, was nice, no complaints but being within easy walking distance of two Butchers, It's not something I'd bother ordering online myself. But, if for some reason you don't live near a butchers, are already an A&C customer or are just unable to source Oxtail, then it could well be for you.

Thanks to Abel & Cole for providing the Oxtail.


Helen said...

ooh delish! oxtail and chorizo is not a combination I would have thought to try myself but this looks really yum.

them apples said...

That has GOT to be cooked. Oxtail is much under-rated - it's a really delicious meat, that benefits from hours and hours of cooking.

My 7 year old put two-and-two together outside the butcher's the other day.

'What's that?', he asked.

'It's oxtail', I replied.

'What animal is it from?'

'Well, it's from an ox.'

'What part?'

'Think about it for a minute.'

'Oxtail...oh. You mean? Eeuuuurgh. Eeeeuuuuuuuuurrgghh. Really? We're not buying it are we, Dad?'

Anne said...

I've never thought about this combo but it sounds sooo good!! I *love* Oxtail anyway, though I fear more of the rioja would end up in me...! Think will save for a rainy day :)

Dan said...

Helen and Anne, Thanks. It is an unusual combination to me as well, but according to the Moro cookbook, it's a classic Spanish combo and is often sold in bars close to the bullrings. (which makes sense!).

Them Apples - Thanks. Agreed, Oxtail is under rated, although typically now that it's become popular again, the prices have crept up.
Kids- funny how their minds work, strangely when I was a kid I used to love Oxtail soup, and it didn't occur to me for one second what it was actually made of.

Food Urchin said...

This post is a timely reminder that I should get off my arse and write about wot I did with the pork belly that A&C sent me.

As for the oxtail recipe, looks delicious mate. I've never cooked with this ingredient before though, maybe a trip to my scary butchers is in order.

Browners said...

I am addicted to both oxtail and chorizo. And I suspect red wine too. Top stuff.

Lizzie said...

So, after all these abel & cole freebies, will you be a customer of theirs?

I have no qualms about multiple reheating of food, as long as it gets proper boiling hot on the reheat that's fine for me.

I love oxtail, but most (if not all) oxtail recipes need cooking the day before to get rid of the fat that they have so much of.

tamara said...

Oxtail seems to be the dish of the moment, I have just read this artical here - So if you do get some smaller oxtail chunks this soup would be a good way to use them up.

Dan said...

FoodUrchin - Thanks. first time Ive cooked Oxtail myself.

Browners - sounds like this is the dish for you then.

Lizzie - Nope, I don't think I will be a customer. Like you, I had a veg box off A&C, and I explained in the review why that didn't suit my shopping style. I had the Chicken, which was nice but It's easier and cheaper for me to pick one up from the butchers. And lastly the Oxtail which again I think I'd probably purchase from a Butchers. If I lived in the middle of nowhere or had trouble finding decent veg or meat, I would consider using A&C - but I'm thankfully not in the position so it doesn't suit me to buy from them. BTW The Oxtail is the last freebie I'll be having off A&C.

I saved the scraped off fat in a pot and froze it, reckon it'd be cracking to do roast potatoes in.

Tamara - Thanks for the tip.

The Ample Cook said...

God that looks good Dan, what a great recipe. Oxtail is such great value and tastes wonderful.

I agree with Lizzie, nothing wrong in reheating at all. As long as you make sure it's totally heated all the way through, there's no problem and as you found out, second time round is always better eh? In fact I never eat any stewed or braised dish the same day, I always plan to have it 1 or 2 days later as the difference is huge.

By the way I sometimes add a chunk of oxtail to an ordinary beef stew/casserole as it enriches the flavour.

Graphic Foodie said...

Never cooked oxtail before. The richness of the dish looks like the 2 day cook was well worth it though - delicious! Good work Mr.

Dan said...

Jan, Thanks. The thing about the leftovers was chilling and re-heating twice, sort of worrysome, but then I've just finished an account of a French Soldier on the 1812 retreat from Russia eating frozen dead horse and god knows what else, didn't seem to do him any harm! we're so much more health+safety concious nowadays.....errr...compared to retreating Napoleonic soldiers...

As for slinging a bit of oxtail into a stew - to enrich the flavour, what a brilliant idea.

Fran - Thanks, yep Oxtail is well worth having a go at cooking. The gravy is phenomonal and rich. I could eat some now mopped up with bread.

Josordoni said...

We had oxtail a LOT as kids, along with hearts, liver and tripe, looking back I think we ate an offal lot of bits...they were all very cheap then.

But Oxtail was one of my favourites.

So I tried to get some the other day, and the butcher just refused point blank to only sell me big bits. I had to buy the whole tail, and he would chop it up for me, but he "couldn't afford to be left with the end bits that nobody wants." Sad to say I didn't want to be left with them either and so made my apologies and left.

And the whole lot was no cheaper per kilo than good braising steak anyway. Crazy.

Dan said...

Josordoni, That's interesting.
I'm presuming I can buy big bits only, as Ive seen it laid out at my butchers like that under the counter on a tray.
But, it may be the case that you have to buy the whole tail. I'll need to look into this further.

Robert said...

I know it's an old post. But I remembered it,when I wanted something heartwarming to eat on a extremely cold day. So I bought some and I'm now slow cooking it for serving tomorrow. To add to the Spanish ambience of the dish, I'm adding red peppers for the second stage of cooking. Well I've got one that needs eating ASAP! Oh I had to badger the butcher to give the meaty parts, as if I would want to eat bone!

Dan said...

Robert - would love to know how you get on with cooking this dish and how it tastes with the red peppers.