When I was in San Francisco working under Daniel Patterson and Ron Boyd (now of Coi, IL Cane Roso, and forthcoming Brancini) we served a fabulous oxtail potato cake.  Years ago I enjoyed an oxtail/ truffle dish in Paris at Le Grand Vefour.  My recipe captures a little from each of those excellent entrees.  Oxtail is a great meat for braising.  Although the yield per pound is less than other cuts of beef, oxtail is packed with flavor.   If you want a little variety, try this knock out oxtail cake with creamy mashed potatoes.  

4 lb Oxtail cut in sections (this is normally how it is sold)

1 onion cut in quarters

2 Carrots cut in half

2 stalks of celery cut in half

8 garlic cloves

2 sprigs of rosemary

2 bay leaves

2 cups of red wine

1/4 cup of tomato paste

10 cups of water or stock 

3 tbsp of olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Caramelized onions

2 small onions sliced thin

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt

2 Tbsp of black truffle oil

2 Tbsp of olive oil

Non-Stick spray

Season oxtail with salt and pepper on both sides.  In a large braising pot on medium high heat, add oil and oxtail.  Brown the oxtail for 3 minutes on the first side and then flip it over.  Add all of the vegetables and herbs on top of the oxtail.  Cook for another 2 minutes and add the wine.  Continue cooking to reduce the liquid by half.  Add the tomato paste and water and bring to a boil.  Cover the braising pot and reduce the heat to a low simmer.  Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the meat is tender.   

In a medium saute pan on medium high heat, add oil, butter, and sliced onions.  Cook the onions, stirring occasionally as the natural sugars start to caramelize and brown.  Do not add salt until the onions are caramelized. Salt draws water out of the onions so it requires a longer time to brown them.  The caramelizing takes 10-20 minutes,  depending on the heat of the pan and how much attention you give to stirring.  Once the onions are caramelized,  add salt and let them cool to room temperature.

Strain the meat from the braising pot onto a parchment lined sheet pan.  Allow the meat to cool to room temperature.  Pull all of the meat away from the fat, bone, and cartilage.  Large dice the meat and add the caramelized onions, truffle oil, salt and pepper. 

In a cast iron skillet,  heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and add a steel ring mold.  Spray the mold with non-stick spray ( I use the olive oil spray).  Fill the ring with the oxtail and onion mixture and brown for 4 minutes on each side.  Might need to play a little with getting the spatula under the ring mold but it can be done if you have a flat steel spatula and wiggle it a little. Serve the cake on top of mashed potatoes with a little bit of the broth from the braise and a touch of butter.   The oxtail cake has a nice crisp top with soft meat in the middle.  On top of creamy potatoes and natural juice,  it is delicious!

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