FOCACCIA’S Braised Oxtail

Rating: NNNNNWHOSE: Sam Gassira WHERE: Focaccia .

Rating: NNNNN

WHOSE: Sam Gassira

WHERE: Focaccia

(see listing page 69)

WHAT: Braised Oxtail

WHY: Gassira cooked his way up through some of the best kitchens in town, and now runs the show at this hot midtown boite. His hearty slow-cooked autumnal recipe embodies a style that incorporates elements both haute and down-home. Just don’t call it osso buco!


2 oxtails, about 7 lbs total, cut into 2-inch slices (have the butcher do this)

1/2 cup canola oil

1 medium onion, sliced

1 large ripe tomato, diced

1/2 bunch fresh thyme (half chopped, half left whole)

2 tbsp chopped garlic

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 litre good red wine

3 cups beef stock

540-ml can plum tomatoes

540-ml can chickpeas, drained

salt and pepper to taste

HOW: In a large bowl, combine oxtail, salt, pepper, chopped thyme, onion, diced tomato, 1/4 cup of canola oil, garlic and flour. Mix well. In a large, heavy pot, brown oxtail and ingredients over medium-high heat, stirring regularly and turning the meat so all sides brown. Add wine and deglaze pot. Add canned tomatoes, beef stock and enough water so the oxtail pieces are just covered. Over high heat, bring to a boil, stirring regularly to prevent burning. Reduce to medium simmer and continue to braise, stirring occasionally. As liquid evaporates, add more water so the oxtail is always submerged.

After simmering for three hours, add whole thyme sprigs and chickpeas — but do not add any more water. Simmer until oxtail is fork-tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Makes six to eight large servings. Serve with leek and celery root gratine or roasted-garlic mashed potatoes.

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