Monday, February 20, 2012


We have a rather inventive dinner coming up. It's called "a day in dinner", where each course comes from a different meal/time of day. The course corresponding to dinner is a sous-vide oxtail. On the night it will be served with celeriac puree and bitter greens. I did think it might be a good idea to try it out before actually serving it - especially as it takes 3 days to cook. Like many things sous vide, it is pretty straightforward - as long as someone gives you a clue. I wanted some 5-spice flavorings on this - they go so well with the richness of the oxtails, but how much?
2 t Szechuan peppercorns
1 t whole cloves
1 t pink peppercorns
4 whole star anise
1" piece of cinnamon
2 t salt
1T vegetable oil
2 lb oxtail (1 whole oxtail  of variable size)
3 leeks chopped roughly
1T vegetable oil
6 oz linguine
Toast the Szechuan pepper, cloves and pink peppercorns in a hot skillet until fragrant. Allow to cool. Grind finely together with the star anise and cinnamon. Sieve the ground spices into the 1T of vegetable oil. Add the salt. Coat the oxtails in the oil/spice/salt mixture and double seal in a vacuum bag. Cook at 55C for 24hrs in the circulator, and a further 48 hrs at 70C.
Remove, chill and refrigerate.
Empty the contents of the bag into a saucier and start to reheat, melting the juices. Saute the leeks and when slightly browned, add the pan juices, stirring to combine.
Cook the pasta. About 5 minutes before the pasta is cooked, sear the oxtails on a hot skillet. Serve the oxtails over the pasta with the leek/sauce drizzled around.
The spicing was just right - cutting through the richness of the meat nicely. Of course the bottle of M. Chapoutier Chateau Neuf du Pape 2006 didn't do a lot of harm either!
And, oh yes. This does get the "we can serve this to people" accolade from Madame. Just as well really because we are going to anyway!

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