Braised Oxtail Noodles
I've really had to expand my foodie horizons since starting at 1907 Meat Co. I've eaten things I didn't even know existed (or at least existed as food — since when do people eat beef tongue?!)
I've always liked food and cooking, and I'm not really afraid to try new things, even if I'm really behind the times — I had my first raw oyster last night, for goodness sake (it was delicious).
So, when I saw our butchers putting a fresh batch of oxtail in the case, I knew it was time to go on another cooking adventure. The hardest part is finding a recipe that sounds tasty but is also not terribly complicated or expensive. Sure, if we all had endless resources and time, I would spend all day in the kitchen, experimenting and cooking to my heart's content. But that's not my reality, and I'll bet it isn't yours, either. I found one recipe that looked absolutely decadent but as I started tallying up the grocery list, I realized that we would only be eating that recipe for the week and it would take about that long to make it. I've bookmarked it for a special occasion, so don't worry. It will appear at some point.
I found this on —where else?— Pinterest. Braised Oxtail Noodles by The Woks of Life was so easy I kept thinking I was missing something, but I wasn't, and it turned out fantastic.
One thing I didn't expect was how tender the oxtail was. It tasted like a pot roast and just fell off the bone if I looked at it funny. (Wouldn't it be nice if that worked with all meats? Give a whole chicken the stink eye, and BAM! Boned chicken.)
I have to make a shoutout to CM Asian Market here in Stillwater. They're downtown at 613 S. Lewis, and this recipe wouldn't have come to fruition in my kitchen without them. (Well, maybe it would have, but it wouldn't have been nearly as good.)
I had most of the ingredients already in the cabinets, but I needed fresh ramen and dark soy sauce (yes, apparently there is dark and light soy sauce. The stuff you get at the grocery store is the light stuff.). Dark soy sauce is *darker* and thicker than the conventional soy sauce, and is usually used for making sauces and stuff like this recipe. Its generally more of an ingredient, rather than a condiment. I got the Lee Kum Kee brand dark soy sauce. It was visibly thicker and darker, almost syrupy. I'll definitely be using it for more braising and sauces. #yum
As for the ramen, there were a few options at CM. You could also use any kind of Asian noodle, and even one of those cheap packs of instant ramen if you have it on hand (throw away the flavoring packet). The fresh (or wet) noodles are kept in plastic packages in the refrigerator section in the back.
Full disclosure: I tore off the top of the package that had the brand name and threw it away, and then took out the trash, so I have no idea what brand of noodles this is, but here's the rest of the package if you want to hunt for the same kind.
The wet noodles came in convenient little bundles. I used three bundles to serve two people, and there was enough leftover for another meal. If you really like noodles, feel free to make as much as you want. Store leftover uncooked noodles in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week (per the man at CM Asian Market).
The recipe also calls for mirin, which is a Japanese sweet rice wine. I didn't have any on hand, but I did have rice vinegar, which is a good substitute. You can also substitute dry sherry or shaoxing wine if you have any of that floating around.
If you really don't like the idea of oxtail, you can substitute bone-in beef shank if you want! It would also be good with short ribs. I used 2 lb. of oxtail for my little household of 2, so I had extra braising liquid leftover. It would be great reduced down as a sauce for another Asian dish, or you could just braise the bejeezus out of those oxtail until the liquid reduces down enough to make a sticky, tasty sauce.
If you're worried about how to eat the oxtail after you cook it without making it like a scene out of science class, don't fret. After I took the pictures, I pulled them apart and discarded the bones and cartilage. They fell apart really easily, and the meat was super tender!
Without further ado...
Braised Oxtail Noodles
• 3 lbs. oxtail and/or bone-in beef shank
• 1 tablespoon oil (I used coconut oil)
• 5 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup mirin, shadowing wine, dry sherry or rice vinegar
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 3 cups water
• 1 lb. fresh ramen or other Asian noodle
• 1-3 green onion, chopped or sliced, for garnish (it all depends on how much you like green onions!)
Rinse the oxtail and/or beef shank well and pat dry. Trim any excess fat off the sides if you want.
Heat oil in a thick bottomed pot over medium heat and brown the oxtail on all sides. I have a heavy enameled cast iron Dutch oven, which is great for braising!
While the oxtails are browning, I mixed the other ingredients except the green onion and noodles in a liquid quart measuring cup.
After you've browned the oxtail, add the other ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
Cover and simmer for three ours, until the meat is falling off the bone and sauce has reduced.
Stir occasionally and add water if necessary to avoid the meat getting dried out.
Cook the noodles according to package directions.
Toss noodles in the braising sauce, top with oxtail, garnish with the green onion and dig in!
How did you like it?
Sally Asher is the Communications Coordinator at 1907 Meat Co.