Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Oxtail Jus (aka yummy meat juice gravy)

I adapted this recipe from the oxtail jus in Kenji Lopez-Alt's amazing cookbook/food tome The Food Lab as an accompaniment to the prime rib that I made this past New Year's eve. The jus is a super flavorful sauce made from browned oxtails, root vegetables, bay leaves, thyme, parsley and chicken stock. The sauce is well-reduced but not thick like a gravy. Where I digressed from Kenji's recipe was leaving out that entire bottle of red wine, which I thought would make the sauce too tart/acidic, and the oxtail meat (which I saved for another recipe) - sorry, Kenji! I also added a small amount of Wondra flour to the jus in the end to give it a little extra body. Great sauce for prime rib, mashed or Duchess potatoes, and even as an au jus dipping sauce for a French Dip sandwich. 

3 tbsp. oil
3 1/2 lbs. oxtails
2 large carrots, peeled  & cut into large dice
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs Italian/flat leaf parsley
4 cups unsalted chicken broth
4 cups water
1 tbsp. kosher salt

1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or enameled cast iron pot over high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the oxtails in a single layer. Using tongs, turn the pieces over occasionally until lightly browned on all sides (8-10 minutes). 

2. Remove the browned oxtails to a plate and set aside.

3. In the same pan, add the chopped carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are lightly browned. Stir in the thyme, bay leaves and parsley. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth, bring to a boil, and cook for 1-2 minutes.

4. Add the reserved oxtails, remaining 3 cups of chicken broth, 4 cups of water, and 1 tbsp. of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a very low simmer. Cover and simmer for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until the oxtail meat is super tender.

5. Remove the oxtails to a plate and let cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and reserve for another use.

6. Strain the braising liquid into a bowl. Pour the strained liquid into a gravy separator, then pour the jus (minus fat) into a saucepan. If you don't have a gravy separator, just pour the strained liquid into a saucepan and skim off the excess fat with a spoon. 

7. When the sauce has cooled to room temperature, remove about 1/4 cup to a small bowl. Add 2 tbsp. of Wondra or regular flour and stir until smooth. Bring the sauce up to a boil and stir in the flour slurry mixture. Bring to a boil and cook until the sauce is just slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. 


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  2. Great adaptation of the Kenji recipe! Definitely agree on the wine... I added one cup instead of omitting it completely and felt it was a good middle ground. Looking forward to reading more of your ideas!