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Kumquat Braised Oxtail with Chestnut Stracci

This is one of our great successes this winter.

Oxtail braised with sweet spices, tons of kumquats, low and slow until the sauce is richly fragrant, smooth and thick. The meat is shredded off the bone into the strained sauce with balsamic vinegar stirred in for added complexity, and served with homemade chestnut flour pasta, which adds some toothsome sweetness to balance the intense meatiness of the oxtail.

The almost floral fragrance of the kumquats elevates this dish into something extraordinary. It reminds me of the way preserved lemon adds a sublime quality to Moroccan tagines, though it was actually thrown together from what we happened to notice while shopping at the food co-op, not inspired by any particular recipe or cuisine.

The chestnut stracci recipe is more traditionally based, adapted from an Italian recipe for irregular scraps of pasta made with chestnut flour and eggs. I’m told that “stracci” means “rags,” which is what those pasta scraps are meant to look like. I threw them together after reading through a few recipes and finding the proportions that ultimately worked best for me.

Go on, give this a try before kumquats are gone for the year!

Kumquat Braised Oxtail
3 lbs oxtail, in 2″ (or so) thick slices
Oil for browning
1/2 lb kumquats, sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds and deseeded (don’t stress too much, since they’ll be strained out and discarded in the end)
6 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 C water

Brown the oxtail in little oil. Stir in all other ingredients except for the balsamic vinegar. Pressure cook at high pressure for 50 minutes (or braise over low heat for probably about 4 hours or so, or until tender).

Remove the oxtail and let cool a bit.

In the meantime, strain the sauce and stir in the balsamic. You can reduce it at this point if necessary, but it really should be thick and lusciously flavorful enough already with no need for reduction.

Pull the meat off the bones, saving the fat, bone, and connective tissue in the freezer for the next time you make beef stock.

Shred the meat and stir it into the sauce.

Refrigerate overnight, and skim off the solidified fat the next day before serving.

Chestnut Stracci
3 C all-purpose flour
1 C chestnut flour
6 eggs
1-2 tbsp olive oil
A big pinch of salt

Knead the ingredients together until they form a dough, then continue kneading for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Let it rest at room temperature wrapped in plastic wrap for 15-30 minutes.

Roll it out as thin as you can – at least as thin as a dime! It will double in thickness when it cooks.

Let it rest another 15 minutes before cutting it into irregular shapes with a fluted pastry wheel.

Cook in salted boiling water for just a few minutes, then strain and serve with the sauce.

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15 Responses to “Kumquat Braised Oxtail with Chestnut Stracci”

  1. brilynn says:

    That dish has got me drooling! It sounds completely comforting and tasty. I love pasta.

  2. Cakespy says:

    Oh my goodness, that stracci…the texture…wow.

  3. Helen says:

    I love oxtail! Such an underrated ingredient in my opinion. And the idea of cooking it with the kumquats sounds so delicious. I love cooking meat and fruit together, the way the fruit perfumes the flesh with it’s scent is so exciting.

  4. Nicole says:

    Happy valentine’s day, Danielle!

  5. Gabi says:

    Love the unusual combination!
    HAppy Valentine’s Day Danielle!

  6. Toni says:

    OMG! I haven’t had oxtail since my husband used to make it. This looks absolutely out of this world!!! I’m bookmarking this page. I MUST try this!!! (drool….drool…;-)

  7. James says:

    Oxtail ragu is awesome. You ever had sliced pickled kumquats as a garnish on a ragu?

  8. Mar says:

    I’m wanting kumquats badly after all of your recent kumquat posts, but they look so sad here.

  9. Danielle says:

    Brilynn – It really was.

    Cakespy, Toni – Thank you!

    Helen – Yes, exactly!

    Nicole, Gabi – Happy valentine’s day!

    James – No, but what a fascinating idea! How do you pickle the kumquats? Preserve them like Moroccan preserved lemons?

    Mar – Oh, that is unfortunate. Ours looked sad at first and then they really perked up.

  10. Christie says:

    This looks amazing! I can’t wait to give it a go. Thank you!

  11. Jonathan says:

    I love oxtail so much and this looks delicious! Glad you liked the bath tub idea!

  12. Danielle says:

    Christie – You’re welcome! Please let me know how it goes when you try it.

    Jonathan – Thanks!

  13. Lyra says:

    Oxtail! Such a British dish. Eaten all over the Caribbean and I remember the British soldiers had powdered oxtail soup in their military rations…twas good!

    This looks really unusual and delicious, but there are no kumquats or chestnut flour around here right now.

  14. Tartelette says:

    Love oxtail and this dish is so going on the to do list for this weekend. I love all the falvor coming together and kumquats are just wonderful with savory dishes.

  15. Mike says:

    This is a really interesting dish with a lot of new components to me–I’ve never had chestnut stracci, oxtail, or kumquats, but I’m definitely curious as it looks and sounds really tasty!

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