Thursday, February 3, 2011

Crush on Oxtails

2011 MUST-DO List included becoming a better cook--more experimental and playing with new flavors.  I've waitressed in diners to swanky digs. One of them was a Reno staple, Louis' Basque Corner, paid my way through college by slinging Picon Punches and lots and lots of lamb platters with mint jelly. Basque food is served family style with many people sharing a table--friends or not. The first 3 or 4 courses are delivered on platters for the whole table to dig into; bread, soup, salad, and the appetizer du jour. Oxtails, tongue, and rabbit stew were a part of the weekly rotation. I have the fondest memory of oxtails. They were delicious and unusual and I loved when Louis served them up for his staff. This week, I revisited the memory from my own kitchen.
The following recipe is adapted from Paula Dean's Home Cooking. I was a little confused in parts so I hope my adaptation helps to clarify for beginning cooks like myself. 
All the images were photographed on my porch and one from the inside of the oven. If only you could have smelled the aroma. Divine. 
Gather the ingredients...


  • 3 pounds oxtails ( i found them at Walmart ~ $8.00)
  • House Seasoning, recipe follows
  • Olive oil to coat the bottom of the Dutch Oven
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth ( Trader Joe's Organic Beef Broth ~ $2.50)
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine ( Trader Joe's Famous "2 Buck Chuck" Charles Shaw Cabernet which is now ~ $3.00)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, large ones cut in 1/2 (used the knife "smash" technique to peel/cut them)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (Trader Joe's)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste (Trader Joe's)
  • 8 oz of tomato sauce ( Trader Joe's Organic Marinara Sauce - I "eyeballed" the amount from the jar)
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce to your heat preference/taste. Leave out if you do not like spicey food. 
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • 6 small new potatoes, cut in 1/2 ( Trader Joe's bag of small potatoes; variety of reds, yellows, and purples)
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths ( Trader Joe's 1/2 bag of peeled carrots - no cutting necessary)
  • 1 pot rice ( 1 cup rice to 2 cups water. Trader Joe's Organic Basmati White Rice- do not lift the lid. Let the rice do it's thing without peaking. Follow the package directions. 15 minutes made perfect rice.)

house seasoning

You can make a smaller/larger batch and store for up to 6 months.
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) black pepper
  • 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Sprinkle the oxtails liberally with House Seasoning on both sides. DO NOT DUMP THE WHOLE MIXTURE IN. DO NOT TOSS THE OXTAILS IN IT. Sprinkle, turn, sprinkle. 
Coat the bottom of a heavy oven-proof Dutch oven with the olive oil. On the stove-top, using a higher heat (8 or 9 on our oven) add the oxtails and sear on all sides. The aroma is magnificent!!! Remove and set aside. Add the beef broth, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic cloves. Stir. Add basil, oregano, bay leaves, hot sauce, marinara sauce and tomato paste, and the seared oxtails. Stir. DO NOT ADD THE VEGGIES YET.
Cover tightly, place in oven, and cook for 2 hours. Sample the wine while you wait. 
Remove from oven and add the onion wedges, potatoes, and carrots to the pot. Cover and return to the oven for another hour. 
Serve oxtails with the vegetables over rice. 
Three children ages 4, 6, & 8 + 2 adults loved it and I had a sensory treat down memory lane. By the time the oxtails were ready, it was dark out. The lights in our house are dim, so I failed to fully complete the project--a shot of the finished masterpiece. I hope you are encouraged to create your own so you can see it for yourself. 
Beautiful hydrangeas for the table(Trader Joe's ~$5.00 for an arrangement with irises). Unfortunately, the heat in the kitchen wilted them almost instantly. Yeah, for the hearty, surviving irises. 
I can't duplicate the Bar Master Luis' Picon Punch. I'll just have to drop in for one of those. 
Want to see photos of Louis' Basque Corner? Leave a comment and I'll take it as an "assignment" :)

1 comment:

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