One-Pot Wonders

Oxtails with Port and Porcini Sauce

January 22, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

I had never had an oxtail before my wedding night. I was aware that people ate them, growing up as I did in a city with a variety of ethnic markets and people who appreciated such things, but it never occurred to me to try them myself until years later. At a meal at the end of a magical, 65 degree January day in New York City, seated at a farmhouse table at the back of Marlow and Sons, my new husband and I surrounded by a small, merry group of our dearest friends, meriko plucked one up with her fingers, teasing us for trying to be “dainty” with our knives and forks. These oxtails are inspired by that memory, clad in a rich, lusty sauce, just begging to be eaten with your fingers after a day filled with Hedonism, laughter, and love. —lastnightsdinner

What You'll Need
  • 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil, divided
  • 1.5 pounds oxtails
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 tablespoon double-concentrated tomato paste
  • several sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2-3 fresh bay leaves, or one dried
  • 1/2 cup port wine, divided
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • a splash of sherry vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Soak the porcini mushrooms in about one cup of boiling water until soft. Lift the softened mushrooms from their soaking liquid and set aside, reserving the mushroom soaking liquid. Roughly chop the mushrooms and set aside.
  3. In a covered braiser or other wide, heavy-bottomed pan with a lid, warm 1 teaspoon of the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Season the oxtails with salt on all sides and add them to the pan in batches, browning them well all over, and adding the remaining oil to the pan as needed. Set the browned oxtails on a plate or platter and set aside.
  4. Add the onion, celery, and carrot to the pan, season with a big pinch of salt, and cook until softened, stirring them to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Clear a spot in the bottom of the pan and add the tomato paste, allowing it to toast for a minute before stirring it through.
  5. Turn off the heat, press down the softened vegetables until they are in a fairly even layer, then add the oxtails back to the pan on top of the vegetables with the cut sides of the bones facing up. Scatter the chopped porcinis and thyme around the pan, and then add the bay leaves, the reserved mushroom soaking liquid (leave any grit behind), 1/4 cup of the port, and the red wine. Cover tightly and place into the oven for 2.5 to 3 hours, until the meat is very tender. Check the oxtails periodically and add a bit of water if the mixture looks dry.
  6. Remove the oxtails and set them aside, covering them with foil to keep them warm. Remove the bay leaves and any thyme stems and discard. Remove the softened vegetables from the pan, pressing them through a fine mesh strainer back into the pan juices. Return the pan to the stovetop and add the remaining ¼ cup of port, then cook over medium heat for another 10-15 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced. Add the sherry vinegar and lots of freshly cracked black pepper, stirring through. Return the oxtails to the pan, stirring to coat them in the sauce and re-warm them before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • thirschfeld
  • MrsWheelbarrow
  • AntoniaJames
  • lastnightsdinner

5 Reviews

thirschfeld January 19, 2011
I was just thinking, I haven't made oxtails in a while, seems I have to now.
MrsWheelbarrow January 22, 2010
I'm now questioning my decision to marry a mostly-vegetarian. Just kidding. Seriously, these look fantastic enough that I might just make them for myself.
lastnightsdinner January 22, 2010
Hee hee! I hope you get a chance to try them - heck, when we finally get together to cook, we can put them on the menu! ;D
AntoniaJames January 22, 2010
So luscious, and what a lovely story about the wedding night dinner. (I too was married in New York City in January, though there was snow coming down that day . . . . a very long time ago. ;o) ) I'm buying oxtails the next time I visit my butcher, to make this!!
lastnightsdinner January 22, 2010
Thank you! And happy January anniversary, too! :D