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Oxtail stews have incredible body and flavor. We recommend that you make this a day or two before you plan to eat it—the flavor deepens as it rests. Boiled, mashed, or pan-fried potatoes are good accompaniments to this dish, along with a glass of the wine you used to make the stew.
Makes 6 servings
Oxtail Stew In Red Wine (Rabo de Toro)
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2¾ lb oxtail pieces
• Salt as needed
• Freshly ground black pepper as needed
• 2 cups chopped yellow onion
• 1½ cups chopped leek, white and light green portions
• 1 tsp minced garlic
• 1/2 cup diced plum tomato
• 1 tbsp sherry vinegar or as needed
• 1 tbsp honey
• 2 cups dry red wine, such as a good-quality Rioja
• 3 cups Beef Broth or as needed
• 4 parsley sprigs
• 4 thyme sprigs
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 tbsp chopped parsley, for garnish
1. Heat the oil in a casserole or Dutch oven over high heat until it shimmers. Season the oxtail pieces generously with salt and pepper; add in a single layer to the hot oil. (Work in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pieces.) Sauté the oxtail, turning as necessary, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate, letting the oil drain back into the casserole. Cover the oxtail loosely and set aside.
2. Return the casserole to high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the onion, leek, and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add the diced tomato and cook until it deepens in color and smells sweet, about 2 minutes.
3. Add 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar and the honey and stir until the honey is dissolved. Return the oxtail pieces and any juices they may have released to the casserole and fold the oxtail into the vegetables gently with a wooden spoon.
4. Add the red wine and enough of the broth to cover the oxtail. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf together into a bouquet garni and add to the stew. Cover the casserole and simmer very gently over low heat until the meat on the oxtail is nearly falling from the bone, 2 to 3 hours.
5. Transfer the oxtail pieces to a heated serving bowl and keep warm. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Return the casserole to the heat. Skim the fat and oil from the surface and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer rapidly until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with additional sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour the sauce over the oxtail pieces, garnish with parsley, and serve at once.
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