Sundays With Sparky: Mushroom-Oxtail Poutine (Poutine Part 2)

Sundays With Sparky: Mushroom-Oxtail Poutine (Poutine Part 2)

You may remember our last foray into Oxtail Poutine. You may even remember way back when, where we made our own cheese curds for Green Bean Poutine. Obviously, I am a fool for gravy, french fries, cheese and gravy…my first thought when I tasted the beautiful vegetarian ragout from Yottam Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Plenty, my very first thought was “Y’know what would be great with this….?” (The answer: oxtails, french fries and cheese – today, I fail vegetarian, but we all succeed at delicious!)

So, I adapted the recipe for mushroom ragout into a mushroom oxtail gravy thusly:

IMG_1748 (2)1 2-lb package of oxtails
2 onions, sliced
1 bottle of red wine (we used two-buck chuck, IMO the world’s best braising liquid)
2-4 cups chicken or beef stock

1 small packet (mine was .7 oz) dried porcini
1/4 cup water

8 oz each white button or crimini mushrooms and shitake mushrooms, tough stems removed, washed and sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed
2 tbsp chopped parsley, plus extra
1 tbsp finely-chopped lemon-rind “pickle” (we bought ours at a local international market)

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour

IMG_1736 (2)We started this process fairly early in the morning, because oxtails need a long braise – you can’t really eat them unless the meat is falling off the bone, and you want to get all that delicious gelatin in your gravy anyway. Sparky seared the oxtails in our large cast-iron dutch oven, and then added the onions and browned them a bit. When everything had browned, he dumped in an entire (EN TIRE!) bottle of wine, and then enough stock to cover the oxtails. He turned up the heat until we had a nice, rolling boil, and then turned it down to a bare simmer, covered it, and went to play Xbox for 3 hours. (Well, of course not really. But you get the idea – 3 hours of braising.)

IMG_1741Once the braise was done, Sparky put the porcini mushrooms and the water in the microwave, and heated it for about a minute. We left the mushrooms to rehydrate while we turned our attention back to the oxtails.

IMG_1752 (2)Sparky fished the oxtails out onto a cutting board with tongs and pulled the meat off the bones with two forks. I poured off the delicious braising liquid into a container in the refrigerator to make it easier to remove the fat later, and wiped down the dutch oven. I also carefully decanted the porcinis into a new container, leaving the grit at the bottom of the cup so it didn’t go into our poutine.

IMG_1753 (2)Once our meat was ready, Sparky worked on the mushrooms: the olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter went into the dutch oven and melted gently over medium heat. Then he added the garlic, thyme and the two kinds of fresh mushrooms and sauteed everything until the mushrooms browned and the kitchen smelled fantastic. Scootching everything to one side of the pan, Sparky added the butter and flour to the other side to make a roux, stirring until the flour and butter bubbled slightly. Then, we added in the porcinis and their liquid along with most of the parsley, the lemon pickle and about a cup of the de-fatted braising liquid (after it boils, if you find your gravy too thick, add more liquid) We brought this to a boil and added in the oxtail meat, and then let everything simmer for 10 minutes while we prepared the rest of our poutine.

French fries were reheated (yes, sorry, the kitchen is enough of a mess – we aren’t making our own today! Purchase the best fries you can and reheat or keep them hot in the oven) and studded with cheese. The delicious, fragrant gravy was poured over them and then sprinkled with the remaining parsley….the house smelled like heaven.

This fragrant gravy is fantastic: it has meatiness from the oxtails and from the mushrooms, and a heavenly bright flavor from the coriander, mustard, lemon and cumin that is just the thing to drive away these winter doldrums. It works fantastically well with poutine, but I also found it delicious poured over cooked spaghetti squash. Enjoy!

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Filed under: Cooking with Kids, Recipe

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