Friday, 2 September 2011

FRIDAY SUPPER: RABO DEL TORO

Oxtail with chorizo and Rioja

I saw this dish being prepared in an episode of Rick Stein's recent, excellent tv series on Spain and its cuisine, though I had read the recipe in my copy of Casa Moro: The Second Moro Cookbook by Sam and Sam Clark, and thought I would like to make it. Seeing it being made convinced me it was my kind of dish: slow-cooked, aromatic and hearty.

The dish originated in Cordoba where it was made from the tail of a bull recently killed in the corrida. It is often served in bars near the bullrings all around Spain, and was apparently a favourite dish of writer and bull-fighting fan Ernest Hemingway. Like all good stews, it benefits from being made in advance, if possible. Despite the long list of ingredients and two stages of preparation, it is very easy to make.

I have always liked oxtail and remember eating it fairly regularly as a little girl. It fell out of favour during the 'BSE Years', but has come back into vogue with the popularity of "forgotten cuts". It definitely lends itself to long, slow cooking. Eventually, the bone marrow seeps into the sauce, creating a lovely silky texture. I have a friend who likes to suck the marrow out of the bones if I serve a dish like this, or Osso Bucco. To spare her blushes, she will remain nameless......

Oxtail is available from the butcher's counter at Waitrose or from a proper butcher. I bought mine from Laverstoke Park Farm butcher's shop in Twickenham, a new foodie addition to the area (Twickenham also boasts a good fishmonger), and a very welcome one: the shop sells a fine selection of meat, including buffalo meat from Laverstoke Farm, but also deli items, pies, and the most fantastic ice-cream, made with buffalo milk.


Rabo del Toro - serves 4-6

Stage 1
3 tbsp olive oil
1.5kg oxtail
1 carrot, cut into chunks
1 stick of celery, cut into chunks
1 onion, quartered
5 black peppercorns
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
4 springs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic
1 bottle of Rioja
10 parsley stalks
sea salt & black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Season the oxtail pieces with salt and pepper and fry until well browned. Remove from the pan and drain off any excess fat. Add the carrot, celery and onion, and fry for about 5 mins until slightly coloured. Then add the aromatics (peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, garlic, thyme) and cook for about 5 mins. Return the meat to the pan, pour over the Rioja and add the parsley. Cover with water. Bring up to a simmer then cook on a low heat for about 2 hours, or until the meat can be easily pulled away from the bone. Transfer the oxtail to a bowl or suitable container and strain the juices through a sieve over the meat. Set aside or, if making the day before, put in the fridge.






Stage 2
2 tbsps olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 medium carrot, finely diced
12og cooking chorizo, cut into 1cm rounds
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/4 tsp hot paprika, or dried red chilli flakes
1/4 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1-2 tbsp tomato puree

On the day of eating, remove as much fat as possible from the chilled oxtail. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and carrot and cook for about 10 mins until slightly caramelised. Then add the chorizo and fry for 5 more mins. Now stir in the flour and add the paprika, chilli, fennel seeds and tomato puree. Add the oxtail and its stock to the pan and check seasoning. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 mins. Serve with mashed potato, or in true Spanish style, with fried potatoes.






This recipe is from Casa Moro: The Second Cookbook. More on Rick Stein's tv programme and accompanying book here.

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