I‘m not a big kare-kare (Philippine oxtail peanut stew) eater so I don’t get to enjoy oxtail that much, which is a shame since I do love that gelatinous texture that you can only get from certain cuts of meat like the tail and face.
Ren, being the fantastic wife that she is, made me this awesome oxtail dish that’s very similar in flavor and texture to Pata Tim (Chinese-Filipino dish made from pork leg). She knows I’m mad for mushrooms as well so she threw in some spongy shiitake mushrooms to go with all that tender-sweet oxtail and crisp, fresh Bok Choy (Taiwan pechay).
Pausing briefly before moving onto my second plate, did I already say that I have the most fantastic wife ever? 🙂
*Should preferably be made a day in advance
- 1 1/2 kilos oxtails, cut into pieces, fat trimmed
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- 2-4 Tbsps vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup Chinese cooking wine
- 1/3 cup dark or regular soy sauce
- 1 1/2 Tbsps brown sugar
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 pcs star anise
- 3 cloves
- 1 cinnamon bark
- 3 Leeks, trimmed and cut into 2 inch lengths, plus 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish
- 6 slices fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 orange, 4 large strips of zest removed with a vegetable peeler and reserved
- 150 g fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated if dried
- Cooked jasmine rice, for serving
- Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Heat 2 Tbsps oil in large oven-proof pot with tight-fitting lid. Working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding, brown oxtail all over while seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove each piece when done. Add oil as needed.
- When done browning, pour off extra fat from bottom of empty pot and set pot over high heat. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits.
- In bowl, mix soy sauce and sugar with water and 2 cups beef broth and pour into pot. Add star anise, 2 inch pieces of leeks, ginger, garlic, cloves and cinnamon bark and bring to a boil. Turn off heat.
- Return oxtails to pot and add orange zest. Cover and transfer to oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours.
- Turn over pieces of oxtail, cover again and cook for 1 1/2 hours more, or until oxtail is very tender.
- Transfer oxtail pieces to baking dish. Strain sauce into separate saucepan, then discard contents of strainer. Cover oxtails and sauce and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, heat oven to 300 degrees F. Remove oxtails and sauce from refrigerator. Lift off any surface fat and discard. Gently warm sauce until liquid, then pour over oxtails. Cover with foil or lid, then bake for 30 minutes.
- Uncover, stir and raise oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Stir again and cook for another 15 minutes, until hot and glazed thickly with sauce.
- Meanwhile, squeeze 1/4 cup juice from orange. Remove oxtails from oven, stir in orange juice, then serve in bowls over rice. Sprinkle each serving with thin scallion slices.
DID YOU KNOW?
That the differences between a bull and an ox go further than how they’re used as livestock? Though both are part of the bovine family, oxen are actually a sub-genus of male cattle, with similar but unique genetic codes.
On the farm, bulls are used primarily for breeding cattle, whereas oxen are usually castrated to make them more tractable as draft or pulling animals.
JB and Renée are the Traveleaters behind Will Fly for Food, a travel blog for the gastronomically inclined. They enjoy experiencing food from different cultures so they’ve made it their mission to try every country’s national dish. Read more about them and their National Dish Quest here.