Yeah, It’s bread again. But now it’s time for sandwich. Tartine bread project is doing well and yesterday I got my first polenta loaf. And what could be better with polenta than oxtail??
Yes, I eat oxtail! I’m a girl that bakes bread and eats oxtail!! I have to thank my mom again; she taught me how to bake bread and to eat delicacies like that. Actually, it’s both my mom and dad’s fault because she makes the best oxtail stew ever and the way my dad eats it just makes you remember one of those moments in your childhood when you just got a lollipop and wanna show it to everybody but won’t share it under any circumstances.
For me it’s just the most flavorful piece of meat, so unfairly discriminated. People are scared to eat oxtail but it’s actually the end of the backbone and doesn’t have anything to do with intestines or entrails. And it’s not as fat as it seems. The creaminess of its stock is given in part by the high amount of bones.
Now, think with me, when we need to make a rich demi glace, what is the first thing that comes to our mind? Bones for sure. So, here they have the same task, to give us a rich and thick sauce to complement the taste of the meat. Gorgeousness in its best definition!
That’s one of the sandwiches you wanna eat before you die!
Again, choose a good bread. If you can’t find polenta bread, opt for a rich but not sour country bread.
And don’t forget watercress is in season now. Its peppery and tangy flavor pairs magnificently with oxtail. Besides that, we are speaking about a classic and popular combination in Brazil and I wanted to share it with you.
Plan in advance. One day before, wash the oxtail and season with salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic and chopped bell pepper and keep on the fridge. On the next day, heat the oil in a pressure cooker or in a Dutch oven, brown the meat for about 3 minutes each side, cover with water, add chopped tomatoes, cover and cook until tender.
I really prefer my pressure cooker; it takes from 25 to 45 minutes to cook an oxtail, it’s faster and gives you a very juicy meet. After 25 minutes, turn off the heat and wait until all the pressure is gone. Open the lid and check, add more water and cook for more 10 to 20 minutes.
But if you don’t like or don’t have one, a Dutch oven works as well, just be prepared to wait. After covering the pan, place into the oven and slow braise it until the meat gets out of the bone easily. Check it each half hour and add more water if necessary.
Reserve liquids. Pull the meat out of the bone and shred it when it’s still hot. Reserve.
Tip to degreese liquids: place the bowl with broth inside of a cold water bath and let it chill. Fat will start to solidify and you can easily remove it with a spoon. And remember once again, not all of the sauce is fat. Part of the stock will be thick due to the collagen.
Pour degreased stock into a saucepan and reduce until thick and rich. Time and quantity depends on the amount of water you used to cook the oxtail. Add meat and mix well.
Portion into two slices of bread, add watercress, cover with other slices of bread, cut in half and serve with extra watercress aside.
As an option, you can give your sandwich an extra crunch by grilling it!