Robust, Flavorful Oxtail Meal

My father, Carl B. Stokes, always made it a special point to keep me close to observe his cooking skills when I was growing up as the youngest of three. Oxtail was a favorite dish of his to cook. While my recipe resembles his, I have modified it to be consistent with my evolving views on healthy eating. It is important that the reader seasons to his or her palate and health status. While I typically place my oxtails on a covered grill for an hour and a half to reduce some of the fat before cooking, I’m providing a recipe that doesn’t require this step.

Serves 12

  • 3 whole oxtails (2½ –3 pounds each)
  • 1½ cups kosher salt
  • 3 cups Burgundy wine, divided
  • ½ cup yellow mustard
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil, plus additional for coating pans
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 2 bunches scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2 heads garlic, peeled and crushed (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 large bunch celery, including leaves
  • 4 large carrots, peeled
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and trimmed of green portion
  • 1 pound bag cleaned kale (or substitute collard greens)
  • 3 splashes white vinegar
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 4 cups warm water

Visit your favorite butcher for fresh oxtails and have them cut them between each joint. Clean the oxtails and place in a jumbo Ziploc bag or other container for brining and marinating. Add the kosher salt, seal, and shake to fully coat oxtails. Then place in refrigerator for 3 hours. When you remove the oxtails, rinse them under cold water just to remove heavy coating, and place into a fresh bag or container.

Whisk together 1 cup wine, yellow mustard, tomato paste, oil, and seasonings. Coat the oxtails with the mixture. Roughly chop scallions. Add scallions and garlic to the coated oxtails. Shake the bag to coat the meat completely and refrigerate overnight.

Remove marinated oxtails from the refrigerator and let stand for at least 15 minutes while you roughly chop (the thicker the better) celery, carrots, and leeks. Set vegetables aside. Liberally coat the bottom of two large (16½ x 12 x 2½ ) roasting pans with grapeseed oil. Add 3 splashes of distilled vinegar and 1 cup of beef broth to each pan. Then distribute the marinated meat evenly between the pans, but do not stir. Pour 1 cup of Burgundy wine over each and place in the oven and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes at 400°.

Remove pans from oven and incorporate the chopped vegetables and the greens with a wooden spoon and add 3 cups of beef stock and 2 cups of warm water to each pan. Lightly tamp food down into pans. Tightly cover pans and cook at 400° for 15 minutes then drop to 325°. Cook for 3 hours. Do not open the oven while cooking. Remove pans, stir contents, and enjoy.