Oxtails with Sumac-Apple Relish

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Chef Ashleigh Shanti of Benne on Eagle, a James Beard Award-nominated restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina, shared this delicious recipe for braised oxtails. This cut of meat has a reputation for being tough, but low and slow cooking coaxes out rich flavor and makes the meat meltingly tender. The oxtails are cooked in a mixture of red wine, Bay leaves, peppercorns, juniper berries, and beef stock along with celery, onions, carrots, and plenty of garlic. The oxtail mixture is covered with a sheet of parchment paper and foil as it cooks, which keeps the steam—and the sauce—from evaporating. Shanti tops off the dish with a bright and tangy Sumac-Apple Relish, which cuts through the richness of the meat and balances out the dish. The relish can be made a few hours in advance, while the meat cooks, and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Stir it up before you serve it alongside the oxtails.

Ashleigh Shanti's Oxtails with Sumac-Apple Relish
Photo: Peter Frank Edwards; Prop Styling: Kendra Surface; Food Styling: Anna Hampton
Active Time:
35 mins
Chill Time:
4 hrs
Bake Time:
5 hrs
Total Time:
9 hrs 35 mins
Servings:
8

Ingredients

Oxtails

  • 5 pounds oxtails, cut at joints

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 3 dried bay leaves

  • ½ ounce thyme sprigs

  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries (optional, found on the spice aisle)

  • 1 (750-ml) bottle dry red wine

  • 3 quart unsalted beef stock

  • 1 ½ pounds yellow onions, roughly chopped (4 ½ cups)

  • ½ pound celery stalks, roughly chopped (2 cups)

  • ½ pound carrots, roughly chopped (2 cups)

  • 1 garlic head, halved crosswise

Relish

  • 2 medium Gala apples, peeled and finely diced (about 2 ½ cups)

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

  • 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon lime zest plus 2 tsp. fresh juice (from 1 lime)

  • ¾ teaspoon ground sumac

  • ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Sprinkle oxtails all over with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.

  2. Preheat oven to 275°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Working in about 2 batches, add oxtails. Cook, turning occasionally, until evenly browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer browned oxtails to a large roasting pan.

  3. Place bay leaves, thyme, pepper- corns, and juniper berries (if desired) on a piece of cheesecloth; bundle and secure sachet using kitchen twine. Add herb sachet, wine, stock, onions, celery, carrots, and garlic to oxtails in roasting pan. Cover with a layer of parchment paper and then a layer of aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven until oxtails are tender, about 5 hours.

  4. Meanwhile, combine all of the ingredients for the Sumac-Apple Relish in a medium bowl. When the meat is done, remove and discard sachet. Strain; discard juices, or reserve for another use. Serve oxtails alongside Sumac-Apple Relish.

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