The other day I got to try a Chocolate Stout by a new local brewery called Pacific Breach.
Immediately I began scheming a way to cook with this new found elixir, and tonight the opportunity presented itself in the form of a braised oxtail.
I didn’t have much of a plan beyond beer + oxtails, so I kind of winged it. But I threw some things together, learned a lesson or two, and in the end, had myself a pretty damn tasty dish.
After posting to my FB/IG/Etc, I had a few people asking for the recipe, but since I just threw it together on a whim I dont have a “recipe” to speak of. But heres a quick recap.
Started off with one package of oxtails from the grocery store. (not sure on the weight, though i dont imagine it matters all that much).
And of course, a pint of Pacific Breach Chocolate Stout. (For my non Hawaii based friends, you could substitute a Rogue Chocolate Stout, but its a lot hoppier than the Pacific Breach Stout)
The aeromatics consisted of a standard mirepoix of Carrots, Celery and Onion. Chopped into thick cuts so theres still something left after the long cooking process. (too small, and you’ll be left with tiny bits or nothing at all)
[Put a braising pan or Dutch Oven on the stove on medium high heat, and Pre-Heat your oven to 350]
First, I seasoned the oxtails liberally with salt (kosher, of course) and fresh cracked pepper. Then gave them a dusting with all purpose flour (brushing off any excess flour).
[this ensures the cuts are completely dry before hitting the pan)
Once the pan is up to temp, add some Olive Oil and put down your oxtails, being sure not to crowd the pan. searing on all sides until browned.
[If you have a lot of meat, work in batches so theres room for the meat to brown)
When all your meat is browned, remove from the pan and set aside to rest.
Add your vegetables to the hot pan with the remaining oil and browned bits (fond) and sautee until they have a little color.
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES REMOVE THE BROWN STUFF FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE PAN!
[add the carrots first and let them cook for a few minutes before adding the other veggies, as the carrots take longer to cook]
Once your mirepoix is cooked, add in your Pacific Breach Chocolate Stout (or Rogue if youre not lucky enough to have Pacific Breach available to you). With your wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of your pan as the alcohol cooks off. This will loosen the fond on the bottom of the pan (a method known as deglazing) adding all that delicious flavor to your sauce.
Once the pan is deglazed and the beer has cooked for a few minutes, add your oxtails back to the pan and add in enough beef broth to cover 1/2 to 3/4 of the meet. (Do not cover all the way with liquid, then your stewing, not braising)
[This is a good time to taste your broth and adjust the seasoning to your liking]
Put a tight fitting lid on your pan, and place it in the 350 degree pre-heated oven. Let it cook for 2 – 2.5hours.
[I cooked mine for an hour and a half, and while it was cooked, it definitely could have benefited from a longer cook time]
When done, place pan on stovetop on high heat. Remove the oxtails and let the braising liquid cook on high, stirring frequently until the sauce reduces by half, and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat and throw the oxtails back in the sauce . Toss to coat, and remove to your serving plate.
Spoon the reduced sauce and veggies over your oxtails, and serve with your favorite sides.
[I went with Saffron Rice and Asparagus, but it would go nicely with Potatoes, Coliflour Puree, Broccoli, or just about anything else]
And of course, Dont forget to serve with an ice cold pint of Pacific Breach Chocolate Stout.
Next time I will definitely be using a longer cooktime (maybe up to 3 hours), and will add a tied bundle of herbs (probably rosemary, thyme, and a bay leaf) into the pot. But overall for a dish i made up on the spot, im definitely not mad at the outcome.
Hope this helps you recreate this awesome dish in your own kitchen.