Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Roman Braised Oxtail: Coda alla vaccinara

Busy little bee have been neglecting her blog lately. Work, family , friends, Christmas holiday and more work were occupying my hours of existence that I could barely spare some time sitting on the  used-to-be-my- butt-imprinted-desk-chair. I bet, that chair have been missing my behind's warmth and shape as much as I miss babbling nonsense in this blog. Anyway, I finally got a few days off and weather's been bleak, cold and gloomy. Perfect time to sit at home and get all cozy. There's something about depressing weather such as this that makes me  think about much better times and much better places. I have been meaning to write something obout our trip to Rome for months anyway and now is the perfect time to do it. Yes, I was in Rome with FF, visited its ruins, the Colosseum and other magnificent architectures, mingle with modern-day-harmless gladiators, ate delicious Italian foods until I got sick as a dog but that's another story.

We did enjoy the foods in Rome, I guess it was sheer luck that almost all restaurant we've been to , from run the mill ,rustic Italian to fine dining exceeded our expectations and gratified our stomachs. Well, in the exception of one ridiculously expensive seafood risotto which twisted my guts and empty its contents on the fifth day . Anyway, one of the many delicious foods that left an impression on me was something I ate at  Risorante Al 34  near the Piazza di Spagna . I had a very rich and delicious braised oxtail that night and I was itching to try it at home since then. I finally got that chance  when FF and I, invited some family over for a post Christmas lunch celebration. Making it was time consuming but it was worth  the electric bill. (^_^)

You need:
  • 1.5 kg oxtail, cut into serving pieces
  • 100 g bacon cut into cubes
  • olive oil
  • 3 medium sized carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Parsley and bay leaves
  • 1/2 l white wine
  • 2 l of water
  • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. Paprika powder
  • 1/2  tsp. powdered cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper

1 Wash oxtail under running water thoroughly .  Put oxtail into the pot,add salt, pour 2 liters of water and bring it to a boil. Cook oxtail in salted water for 10 mins skimming off the fat and scums. Remove meat from the pot and set aside. Save about 1 liter of the broth, discarding the rest.

 2 Heat olive oil in huge pot and add in the chopped bacon. Saute bacon bits until aromatic.

 3 Add in the oxtail, brown in all side until meat is slather in bacon's fat/olive oil.

4 Stir in chopped garlic and  onion , saute until onion sweats . Stir well.

5 Add the chopped carrots, a  handful of chopped parsley and few bay leaves. Mix well.

6 Pour 1/4 of white wine into the the meat/vegetable mixture, stir and when it is reduced, add another quarter. Season  with salt and pepper.

7 Dissolve tomato paste in the oxtail broth, pour into the pot. Turn heat to medium low and cook oxtail, covered for about 3 hours to 3 1/2 hours.

8 Once the meat is just tender, stir in chopped celery and cook dish for another 30 minutes. Check meat , it must me fall of the bone tender.  Before serving, season it with cinnamon powder, paprika powder, pepper and salt if necessary .Garnish with more parsley. This dish could be served with crusty bread like I had in Rome, mashed/boiled potatoes, pasta or rice.

Braised Oxtail

I served it with risotto rice and fresh green salad on the side . Buon Appetito!

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