The beauty of this dish is its simplicity. Oxtails, which were once appreciated more by those who wasted nothing, are truly a specialty these days. Nonetheless, they are a labor of love. Oxtails have little meat, which some say is too difficult to get to; but, I say that’s half the fun. You’re rewarded by lots of fat and sinew, which equates to flavor! With a little care and plenty of patience, oxtails cook down, offering some of the tastiest morsels of meat available from any part of the beast. In this dish, their uber-richness is cut by the vinegar in the braising liquids, while the soy, garlic, bay leaves and plenty of black pepper make for plenty of flavor in every little bite. Plain jasmine rice and maybe some baby bok choy cooked in the resulting broth round it out for an amazingly simple, yet glorious meal. Be sure that everyone gets a few!
- 4 lbs. Oxtails, rinsed, pat dry
- 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground, plus extra for serving
- 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 cup Soy Sauce
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- 8 Bay Leaves, dried
- 12 Garlic Cloves, unpeeled
- 4 quarter-sized slices of fresh Ginger, skin left on
- 2-1/2 cups Jasmine Rice, well rinsed
- 3 cups Water
- 1 tsp. Vegetable Oil
- 4 heads of Baby Bok Choy, quartered
- In a large frying pan, with a tight-fitting lid, toss the oxtails with the black pepper. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, chicken broth, bay leaves, garlic cloves and ginger. Over high heat, bring the pan quickly to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and adjust the heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cook the oxtails for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, turning the meat over a few times during cooking, until the meat is tender.
- Meanwhile, place the rice, water and oil in a medium-sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, adjust the heat as needed and maintain a slow simmer for 18-20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all of the water. Remove the pan from the stove and set it off to the side, covered, for 4 or 5 minutes.
- Just before you are ready to serve, remove the lid from the meat and bring to a simmer. Turn the meat in the somewhat reduced cooking liquids to coat and remove the meat to a warm serving vessel. Add the bok choy to the rich broth and cook until just al dente.
- To serve, fluff the rice. Place a decent mound of rice on serving plates, along with the bok choy and a few oxtails. Spoon on some extra cooking liquids and serve.