Recipe Oxtail Bourguignon

The Late Night Gourmet

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Putting this together was the cooking equivalent of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, but I'm very happy with how it turned out. On the surface, this sounds like it should have been the same as my Beef Bourguignon recipe with oxtail instead of "normal" beef. But, certain things made it much more complicated:
  • When I opened the pack of oxtail, I noticed that the meat really isn't suitable for a stew or soup: the pound-and-a-half package came in 5 pieces, and they are very hard to break down. So...
  • I decided to add stew-grade beef to the recipe. I immediately realized that these two parts of the cow cook at different rates, so I had to do it in stages.
  • I decided to use the pressure cooker to speed things up. But, with different cooking rates for the beef, I couldn't get the texture right with the pressure cooker alone: both types of beef require relatively long periods of time to break down and become flavorful.
  • As an extra bit of fun, I ran out of room in the pressure cooker to cook everything at the same time.
  • I also decided that I didn't want my first experience with oxtail to be a traditional Jamaican soup, with allspice, cinnamon, and other traditional flavors.
  • I decided to borrow a technique that I saw on a Jamaican cooking site for oxtail stew, which called for adding a whole Scotch Bonnet pepper - uncut - to the stew. I decided to use a habanero pepper. After a half an hour, it had imparted virtually no heat, so I had to make adjustments to add heat (the diced serrano did the trick).
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The good news? The stew is really good. And, better yet, I feel like I'm fully "back" as a cook. My funk is over, and I am now back to thinking of ambitious, sometimes unnecessarily difficult recipes.

Ingredients

5 strips thick cut bacon, cut in small pieces
1-1/2 pounds oxtail
1 pound stew-grade beef
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 red onion, cut in chunks
2 medium carrots, sliced thickly
2 pounds turnips, peeled and cut in chunks
2 medium red tomatoes, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper, diced
1 pound portabella mushrooms, ribs scraped and sliced thickly
2 tablespoons coffee, ground extra finely
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 ounces dry vermouth
8 ounces red wine
2 cups stock (ideally homemade)

Special Equipment

Pressure Cooker

Directions

1. Cut bacon into small pieces. Cook on medium heat in the pressure cooker pot without the top on. Cook until fat is rendered out of the bacon.

2. Break up the oxtail as much as possible, one center bone per piece. It will be difficult to separate the meat from the bone at this point, so don't try. Add oxtail to the pot and roll around with the bacon and grease until all sides are browned. Remove the oxtail from the pot and set aside.

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3. Cut beef onto 1 inch chunks. Add to the pan, stirring around with bacon and far, cooking just long enough to brown it on all sides. Remove beef and set aside, separately from the oxtail, but leave bacon and remaining fat in the pot.

4. Cut carrots into slices. And carrots, turnip, thyme, and onion and stir thoroughly into the bacon. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Move carrots, turnip, thyme, and onion out of the way (but leave in the pot), and place serrano pepper and garlic in the opening. Cook for about a minute, stirring constantly. Then, blend together with the rest of the ingredients in the pot.

6. Add everything but the beef chunks to the pot. Lock the lid, and raise heat to high. When you start to hear a hissing of the steam, lower the heat to medium. Cook for 30 minutes.

7. Move pressure cooker to the sink. Spray cold water on the lid - but not the valve! - and carefully attempt to unlock the lid. If it doesn't loosen easily, spray more cold water on the lid and try again.

8. Add beef to the pressure cooker. Lock the lid again. Raise heat to high and cook for 10 minutes.

9. Move pressure cooker to the sink. Spray cold water on the lid - but not the valve! - and carefully attempt to unlock the lid. If it doesn't loosen easily, spray more cold water on the lid and try again.

10. Heat on medium-low heat with the lid on for 30 minutes. Check the oxtail and beef chunks for tenderness. Continue cooking in 5 minute intervals until it achieves the desired tenderness.
 

Morning Glory

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Love the photo of inserting the habanero pepper. I have noticed that Thai & Habanero peppers seem to perform better when they are chopped.

Great recipe.

Its the first time I've ever come across a bourguignon with a Serrano chilli added! The good people of Burgundy would be horrified. :happy:
 

The Late Night Gourmet

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Its the first time I've ever come across a bourguignon with a Serrano chilli added! The good people of Burgundy would be horrified. :happy:
The heat is added as a nod to oxtail stew, and I found that I really liked it. I went off the rails when I decided to add turnips, too (and the soy sauce and the coffee probably also aren't to be found in any French kitchen making a Burgundy, either). :whistling:
 
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