Daube de queue de boeuf (Oxtail stew)
Yield: 8 servings
4 whole cloves
500 g onions, peeled and quartered
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and halved
250 g shallots, peeled
500 g carrots, peeled, into 2 cm (3/4 in) slices
2 1/4 l red wine
1 bunch fresh parsley
4 bay leaves
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 ts peppercorns
2 1/2 kg oxtail, into 10 cm (4 in) pieces
300 g salt pork, cubed
500 g carrots, peeled, into 2 cm (1/4 in) slices
250 g rigatoni or large macaroni
Stick a clove into 4 onion quaters. Place all of the marinade
ingredients through the peppercorns in a large nonreactive casserole.
Add the oxtail pieces.
Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Remove the pan from the
refrigerator from time to time to stir and evenly distribute all
The day before you plan to serve the stew, remove the casserole
from the refrigerator. Remove the pieces of oxtail from the marinade
and drain well.
In a heavy skillet, brown the salt pork over medium-high heat until
evenly browned. Add the pieces of oxtail, in batches, and brown on
Return the oxtail and salt pork to the marinade, adding, if necessary,
enough water to cover generously. Bring to a simmer over medium
Carefully skim any impurities or grease that rise to the top.
Simmer, keeping the mixture bubbling gently, until the meat is
falling off the bone, at least 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Remove from the heat to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The
next day, use a small spoon to remove and discard all the fat that
has solidified on top of the stew. Add the fresh carrots, salt,
and pepper, and cook again until the mixture is heated through,
checking for seasoning from time to time.
To serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the
pasta. Cook the pasta just until firm. Drain well. Evenly divide
the pasta among shallow soup bowls.
With a two-pronged fork, carefully remove the pieces of oxtail from
the stew. Drain, and place on a carving board. Remove the meat in
big chunks, and place them on top of the pasta.
Carefully spoon the sauce and the vegetables on top of the meat,
sprinkle with just a bit of coarse salt.
Oxtail is one of the most economical and most flavorful cuts of
meat, and one that takes well to marinating for days in a hearty
mixture of red wine, herbs, and vegetables. The longer you marinate
the mixture, the more flavorful it will be, but be sure it marinates
at least 3 days. Oxtail is also a fatty cut -- give yourself plenty
of time to allow the stew to cook and then cool, so all the fat
can be skimmed off. Serve this with thick noodles in warmed soup
bowls, accompanied by a tossed salad, and of course, a robust red