Monday, October 15, 2007

Braised Oxtails with Celery Root Puree and Curried Shallot Rings

Okay, so I may have ripped off fellow Michigan boy Grant Achatz* a little on the presentation here. But really, can you blame me? Grant's got mad game... Anyway, I invited the guinea pig, aka Jenni, over tonight to help me test a dish I'm planning on making for my mom and a few assorted relatives on the 22nd of this month. The test run went reasonably well, and it would seem that all systems are go. Follow along if you're so inclined:


2 lbs oxtail pieces
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 leek (white parts only), roughly chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 celery rib, diced
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup parsley stems
2 1/2 cups beef stock
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Season oxtails, on all sides, with salt and pepper. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add oxtails, brown on all sides and remove from pan. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of the wine. Reserve dissolved fond/wine mixture, and wipe out pan. Melt 3 Tbsp butter over medium heat, and add shallot, leek, onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Saute until vegetables are soft and just beginning to caramelize. Put the oxtails back into the pan and add the wine, beef stock, thyme, bay leaves, parsley stems and deglazed fond/wine mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover pan with lid slightly ajar. Braise for about three hours, until the meat begins to fall off the bone. Remove oxtails and set aside. Strain braising liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan. Discard vegetables. Add cream to braising liquid, bring to a boil and reduce to 1/4 of the original volume (you'll know the sauce has reduced enough when the bubbles take on an unusual appearance and seem to stack up upon one another; it's difficult to adequately describe, but you'll know it when you see it). Finish the sauce with a little butter, and set aside.


1 good size celery root, diced
1 medium russet potato, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
Equal parts whole milk and water
4 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper

Place celery root, potato and onion into a large saucepan. Add milk and water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Strain vegetables, return to pan and puree with a hand masher or immersion blender, over low heat. Add butter, and salt and pepper to taste, and continue to puree until a smooth consistency is reached.


1 shallot
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp curry powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 quart canola or peanut oil

Cut shallot into 1/8 inch slices. Stir together flour, baking powder, curry powder and salt. Dip shallot slices into flour mixture to coat and set aside. Whisk egg and milk into flour mixture to form batter. Dip floured shallot slices into batter to coat and set onto a rack to drain. Repeat, several times if necessary, until slices are heavily coated in batter. Heat oil in a saucepan to 380F (a deep fry thermometer is helpful here). Deep fry batter coated shallot slices for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.

Reheat oxtails, sauce and celery root puree as necessary. Plate with shallot rings. Eat. Enjoy.

Jenni's assessment of the meal: The meat was good and the sauce was excellent, but the shallot rings were a little carbon-y (I let the oil get a bit too hot).

*(Metro-Detroit-bred) Chicago wunder-chef Grant Achatz is currently undergoing treatment for squamous cell carcinoma. We, which is to say I, at Macerating Shallots wish you a speedy recovery, Grant! Get yourself well and get back in the kitchen, where you belong...


Anonymous said...

I'm salivating! You certainly are broadening my horizons when it comes to eating and I can't wait to try this meal!!! LGS

The Guilty Carnivore said...

That's funny, before I even started reading your post, I immediately thought of your plating as Alinea-esque, but not as overwrought.

Was dessert a peanut butter sandwich wrapped in edible gold bowstrings, molded in semifreddo blood orange brioche, topped with kumquat foam and served suspended from the ceiling with titanium chicken wire?

As you can tell, I'm somewhat cynical towards the artifice-as-dining theory, but I would love to be proven wrong with a trip to Chicago and an extra $250 in my pocket.

tommy said...

Dessert was topped with kumquat dust. Foam is so last year!

Yeah, the whole molecular gastronomy thing's a bit silly, but that said I am, of course, going to have to try my hand at spherification sooner or later. If my dealer can get me the chemicals, that is...

cc said...

k, you definitely win on presentation, since I left mine in a big pot. But this battle is not over! ;)

tommy said...

Oh, bring it on CC, bring it on! Worst case scenario, you'll deliver me the humiliation I deserve... Ain't like that's never happened before! By the way, do you know where I can get my hands on some sodium alginate?

And MC Guilty, it's funny that you mentioned semifreddo, as that's precisely what I'm working on this weekend... Stay tuned.