Chinese Braised Oxtail Stew Recipe

When I was younger, my mother refused to allow me to cook. She desired no help in the kitchen, moreover did not want any of her children learning how to cook, instead she insisted that we focus on school work. I'm not sure if she lacked the patience or if it she did not want us distracted by the labor involved with cooking, looking back it was probably both.


Consequently none of her three children know a single recipe for the dishes they grew up consuming, and the culinary skills they have developed as adults are independent of what they have learned from their childhood.

I've always had a deep interest in cooking, and found it very satisfying to share the experience of eating with close friends and family members. Despite the void of culinary training during my upbringing, I rely heavily on other people's recipe collections to recreate many of the dishes that I grew up on. It goes without saying that I am thrilled to be participating in the world of food blogging, which has become an amazing platform for like-minded people looking to share their experience with food. More importantly, it has facilitated the important task of record-keeping and recipe sharing that people like me would not otherwise have access.
Recently I picked oxtail from Union Square farmers' market, thinking that it was time for me to try to recreate a recipe that my mother used to make, braised oxtails with star anise.  I found a recipe from the blog Sunday Nite Dinner after searching for an oxtail and star anise recipe.

This recipe requires preparation one day ahead and has more than 10 ingredients, which would typically preclude it from my kitchen repertoire, but for the sake of recreating something reminiscent to mom's cooking, I went for the plunge, and I am so glad I did! This recipe produced a rich, saucy, fall-of-the-bone experience that was worth making again the next day.



CHINESE BRAISED OXTAIL STEW
(Adapted from Bones: Recipes, History and Love)
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds oxtail
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and bruised
  • 2 green onions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 3 slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 Thai chili pepper, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
  • zest of a lime
  • 1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, trimmed or dried shiitake mushrooms rehydrated.
Method
  1. Generously season the oxtails with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large ovenproof pot, preferably cast iron, with a tight-fitting lid. Brown the oxtails, working in batches to avoid overcrowding, brown on all sides, adding oil if necessary. Remove the browned oxtails to a plate and set aside.
  2. Once done browning the oxtails, drain and discard the excess fat from the pot, return the pot to the stove and turn up the heat to high. Add the Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry and bring to a boil, scraping up the flavorful brown bits on the pot. Stir in chicken stock, soy sauce and brown sugar, making sure the ingredients are dissolved before adding lemon grass, chili pepper, star anise, cloves, 2-inch sliced green onions, ginger and garlic. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Return oxtails to the pot and add lime zest. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake at 300°F for 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Flip over the oxtail tails, cover again and cook for another 1 1/2 hours, or until the oxtail is very tender.  Remove the pot from the oven.
  4. At this point, the oxtails can be refrigerated for a make ahead meal over the next few days.  Otherwise, place the pot on the stove top over medium heat, stir in the shiitake mushrooms until the sauce coats the mushrooms well, and simmer until the mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove oxtails from the pot and serve over rice. Sprinkle each serving with thinly sliced green onions. 
Serves 4

48 comments:

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

It's so great that you're working to recreate the recipes your mother cooked, and this one looks amazing. I'd love to see more of your recreations.

Anncoo said...

WOW! Looks delectable! Nice pic :D

HoustonWok said...

Good Morning!!! What a way to wake up, to a nice dish of glazed oxtail. Look at the shine on the oxtail, I could literally taste it through the comp screen. i will for sure bookmark this recipe for future use. Thanks for sharing.

kat said...

Oh my does that ever sound good.

the ungourmet said...

It looks like you've come along way with your cooking! The stew looks absolutely wonderful. I loved reading over the yummy list of ingredients. Very nice!

girlichef said...

Talk about soul-satisfying!! That meat is so tender and saucey and gorgeous...I wish I could close my eyes and savor a bite! This is one I definitely want to save and try :D

Fresh Local and Best said...

T.W. Thanks, I'm looking forward to recreating more of my mom's recipes.

Anncoo, Kat - This was a divine dish!

Houston, Girlichef - I'd love to see your versions of this recipe, it is soooo good!

ungourmet - the ingredients were so savory and interesting. The addition of lemongrass and lime zest simply made it a hit out of the ballpark.

Nancy said...

This looks wonderful! I remember having oxtail stew at a friend's house when I was little and loving it. Would be great to make it myself - especially with star anise, it must add an amazing flavor.

5 Star Foodie said...

This stew sounds super delicious, I'm loving all the flavors here! I'm always trying to recreate my grandmother's recipes - she never wrote anything down and died before I was old enough to think to write them down.

lululu said...

i love stew oxtail. so juicy and tender! and i cant never resist the fragrance of anise star!

Pam said...

I've never had oxtail - this dish looks delicious.

Simply Life said...

Wow I love it when meals take a long time because then you know it's going to be extra good! :)

The Chef In My Head said...

The oxtails made my mouth water! It looks delicious! As for my daughter getting hitched, thank you. I'm not sure her fiance really know what an expensive child she is, bless his heart.
LeslieMichele

Diana Bauman said...

Christine, This is gorgeous! I've been wanting to make an oxtail stew for a year now! I should be getting some oxtail in another month or so! Can't wait!!

high low said...

Wonderful! We love ox tail and have usually had them with Carribean/Jamaican spices. This looks to be another delicious variation!

Debinhawaii said...

So funny--Oxtail soup has been on my short-list of soups to make for a couple of months. This looks so delicious and great that you are recreating and documenting the recipes you grew up with.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Deb - I hope you make this recipe, it's spectacular!

Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ said...

This looks excellent! You did a fantastic job of re-creating it. Blogging is such a good way of keeping track of our recipes. My Mom was asking about a dish I had made and I told her to go print it off my blog!

Fresh Local and Best said...

Reeni - LOL! That's like telling your mom to stand in line with everyone else!

Juliana said...

I never cooked oxtail this way, always in soup, should definitely try it, looks delicious, specially in this colder weather. Nice pictures!

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Hello from a fellow SF to NYC transplant. I love oxtail and this looks delicious! Something so comforting about the way the rendered fat, collagen and meat all meld together.

3 hungry tummies said...

sweet, sticky and tender!!! I'll need a few more bowls of steamed rice with that!!!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I've never made anything like this, sounds wonderful!
I didn't learn from my mother either. Before I was 10 she quit cooking. Had enough, I guess.
Oh well, cheers to the Food Network and foodie blogging!

Heavenly Housewife said...

I've never eaten anything like this, but i want too. It must be so meaty and delish. I love the spices that you've used here. Totally mouthwatering :)

Romaine said...

I never tried this. Your pictures make me want to though.

Divina Pe said...

I have regrets for not helping dad more in the kitchen before when I was in high school. Now, I have to remember the ingredients and I can't seem to remember them. Your oxtail looks fabulous. And I think you are a great cook.

Katherine Aucoin said...

This is a wonderful and savory comfort meal. i wish I was having this for dinner tonight!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

That's such a beautiful looking dish, it might encourage me to try oxtail. I just think the NAME sounds so awful but I bet yours tastes so good that I wouldn't even care!!

unconfidentialcook said...

The stew looks amazing! Thanks for stopping by.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Thanks everyone for all the kind and thoughtful comments!

Natashya - My mom quit cooking after I turned 16, she threw in the towel competing with the convenience of fast food and juggling a full-time career in the technology industry. But I still remember all of the great dishes that she made!

Divina - That's the great part of food blogging, all of these recipes are being recorded and shared!

Marc - hey fellow SF transplant, can you recommend a good burrito place in NY?

doggybloggy said...

wow this looks fall off the (tail) bone good -mmmmmmm

Janice said...

my parents taught us how to cook at a young age to help them out, it was fun at first but it became a chore and I didn't enjoy it as much since my parents are picky eaters, and just cooked filipino food. When I moved out, it came back to me and I started experimenting more with other cuisines. I love your oxtails by the way, I'm always looking for good recipes. I'll have to try this recipe.

Kitchen Butterfly said...

I'm always amazed to see recipes I've grown up with cooked in a specific way....paradigm shift for me this is!

Cathy said...

My grandmother used to make an oxtail stew but I'm sure hers didn't come close to the wonderful flavors in yours. All the slow simmering really pays off. Delish.

Gera @ SweetsFoods said...

This oxtail stew sounds very appealing specially reading all these wonderful ingredients...a full comfort food :)

Cheers!

Gera

Steve Mirsky said...

Really unique twist on a favorite of ours! We find that letting them stew in a crock pot overnight really makes a big difference!

Pheebs said...

My Mom also preferred for us to stay out of the kitchen when we were young. I think it's more or less the same reasons as your Mom's.

Where I'm from, Chinese parents seem to put school education first and everything else second. Most youngsters today don't know how to cook and I think it's a shame. Cooking can be a bonding experience for the family.

Joanne said...

My mom cooked dinner most nights but most of it was pretty non-descript stuff that I have no desire to really recreate. There are a few dishes, though, that take me back to my childhood.

Great job recreating this childhood dish! I have never had oxtail before but you make it look so savory and delicious.

Velva said...

For many of our parents food preparation was not a pleasurable experience but, a necessary one. If only they knew, that their children would have a natural passion for food and the pleasure of preparing, serving and eating a good meal would be so joyful. If only they knew, the memories and the comfort that their children would seek to re-create, I think they would have let us in the kitchen. :-)
The oxtail Braised stew looks warm and comforting. This is a great recipe for a cold day in NYC.

nancy at goodfoodmatters said...

Looks so rich and glazy. Star Anise has remarkable seasoning powers that I tend to forget about.
It's ironic, that so often those things that we were kept from in childhood somehow come back around for us to explore as adults. So Nice that you are also recreating family dishes in your culinary explorations!

Sweta said...

That looks awesome!!
It was the same story at my house-I learn't to cook after I got married and got my own kitchen :)
We use star anise when making biryani's-never tried it for anything else. This sounds neat :)

Danielle said...

this looks absolutely amazing!! I've never had Oxtail but I sure do want to try it after seeing this dish!

zenchef said...

Those oxtails look so succulent. Yum!
Thanks for sharing this great recipe. I'll try it out later this winter.

Joy said...

Wow you really brought me back to my childhood with this post, you've reminded me how wonderful and succulent the oxtail can be. This is a FANTASTIC post, my mother use to make pork belly in a sauce very similar to this one, I can't wait to try this THANK YOU for reminding me the beauty of the oh so delicious ox tail :)

Fresh Local and Best said...

Joy, I'm glad that you enjoyed this recipe. I'll have to try making this with pork belly. I have one in the freezer waiting to be put to use.

Anonymous said...

Just got my cast iron pot from Costco yesterday and this is the first dish I made. Love the addition of lemon grass from my yard. Frangrant anise is always traditional Chinese stew spice,yet lemon grass bring it to another level. Great receipe.
MOMO

Katy ~ said...

I am so excited to see this here. I have never had oxtail, but it has been on my mind to try it, and now I see this luscious, succulent recipe here. Sounds like bit of work, but it's mostly oven and refrigerator time. The flavors sound suave and elegant. Can't wait to try this!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

How fun that you are recreating your mother's dishes. I wasn't allowed in the kitchen other than to help dry the dishes and my mother didn't not teach me to cook either. What a shame as she was a terrific cook.

Your dish sounds wonderful and very creative with the star anise. And I always think sherry brings a lot of flavor to dishes.

We just discovered we can buy oxtails here and are working on making probably oxtail soup soon.
Sam