Winter Meals Braised Oxtail with Potato Purée
As the weather in the Sonoran Desert finally cools down, the morning temperatures are just low enough to use the fireplace. Once winter arrives, I look forward to that first fire and spend all morning staring into the flames. Along with those indolent desert winter days come the addictive comfort foods of the season. That’s when we need a simple, long-cooked, oxtail stew. For Provence WineZine, I paired the dish with a fantastic 2016 red blend from Vacqueyras.
Braised Oxtail with Potato and Celeriac Purée
- 3 lbs Oxtail Pieces cut into 2-inches thick pieces
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 cup Flour
- 2 tbsp Olive or Canola Oil plus extra
- 2 Onions peeled and diced
- 3 stalks Celery sliced
- 4 small Carrots peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 Parsnip peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup Tomato Passata or tomato purée
- 6 Bay Leaves
- 2 tbsp Chopped Fresh Herbs rosemary, marjoram, thyme
- 2 cups Red Wine
- 1 cup Beef Broth
- 2 lbs Russet Potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 lb Celeriac trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
- 1 cup Milk or more as needed
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Season the oxtail pieces generously with salt and pepper; rub the seasoning into the meat. Dredge oxtail pieces in the flour until they are coated on all sides.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven and brown oxtail on all sides, in batches if necessary. Remove oxtail from the pan, and set aside on a plate.
- Add the onions, celery, carrots, and parsnips to the pan and sauté for 10 minutes, or until vegetables begin to take on some colour.
- Add the herbs, stir in. Then add the tomato puree, and stir again to coat the vegetables well. Next, add the wine and the beef stock; stir to mix, then bring to a boil.
- Return the browned oxtail pieces to the pan. Season gently with salt and pepper, cover, and place in the oven for 3 hours.
- In the final half-hour of braising, boil the potatoes and celeriac in well-salted water for about 20 minutes, or until very soft. Purée them with butter, cream, and milk; add additional salt as desired. (I like to put them through the food mill before puréing them with a hand-held mixer.)
- Serve the oxtail, with plenty of the sauce, on a potato and celery root purée.
Other Dinner Recipes:
Rhône Valley Wines
South of France’s gastronomic capital Lyon is Vienne, which is considered the official start of the Rhône wine region. Running from Vienne to Valence, the northern section of the Rhône Valley stretches 65 kilometres (40 miles). With 2800+ hectares of vines under cultivation, the Northern Rhône valley is small compared to many French wine regions, including nearby Châteauneuf-du-Pape. However, the magical combination of steep, terraced vineyards, temperate weather, and adapted grapes results in excellent wines.
The Northern Rhône Valley experiences a cooler climate, and vineyards run along sharp-toothed hillsides with stony soil. The Rhône River is down the hill, and alongside it, the vines are planted on the hillsides. Vineyards are often terraced to lift above the granite soil and maximize sun exposure.
As the river valley widens and the steep slopes give way to rolling hills, you have arrived in the Southern Rhône Valley. Encompassing vast geography, the Southern Rhône eclipses the north with 95% of the production. As a result, many more grape varietals are grown, although each AOC dictates the types and amounts permitted within the guidelines. Except for Châteauneuf-du-Pape, most of these appellations include rosé production.