Oxtail Stew with Semolina Dumplings and Vegetables
Hot and hearty, these oxtails are cooked in wine and beef stock enriched with chopped aromatic vegetables, mustard, and tomato. They are served with dumplings and fresh asparagus tips. A simple and homey — but delicious — dish. Ask the butcher to cut up the oxtails for you to make the work easier.
- Oxtails - 2
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Canola oil - 1/4 cup
- Carrot - 2, diced
- Yellow carrot - 1, or 1 parsnip, diced
- Celery Root - 1/2 , diced
- Onion - 1, diced
- Dijon-style mustard - 1/4 cup
- Tomato paste - 1/3 cup
- Dry Red Wine - 1/2 cup
- Beef stock (see Cooking Basics) - 1/2 cup
- Thyme Sprigs - 1
- Bay Leaves - 2 to 3
- Semolina Dumplings
- Butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick)
- Eggs - 2
- Semolina Flour - 1 cup
- Salt to taste
- Ground nutmeg - 1/4 teaspoon
- Freshly ground white pepper to taste
- White Bread - 2 - 3 slices, removed, cubed
- White Asparagus - 8 spears
- Green Asparagus - 4 spears
- Thyme Sprigs - 2, stemmed and chopped
To prepare the oxtails: Cut the oxtails into thick slices at the joints, about 2-inches thick. Season with salt and pepper. Heat half the oil in a Dutch oven or deep pot and sear the oxtail pieces on all sides until well browned, adding oil as necessary. Remove and set aside; leave any small bits of oxtail remaining in the pan. Add the vegetables and a little more oil if necessary and saute the vegetables until golden brown. Stir in the mustard and tomato paste. Stir to blend, then add the wine and stir up the browned bits. Add the beef stock, thyme, and bay leaves. Return the oxtail slices to the pan, stir to mix, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook 1-1/2 to 2 hours, adding a bit of water if necessary to keep the mixture liquid enough to bubble.
To make the dumplings: In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the eggs, flour, salt, nutmeg, and a few grindings of pepper. Stir together. Fold in the bread cubes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. With your hands, form into 2-inch balls; chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Put the dumplings into the water and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a towel.
To cook the asparagus: Peel the asparagus stalks. Cut off the woody part. Bring water to boil in a steamer and lay the asparagus on the steamer rack; do not let it touch the water. Steam 5 to 7 minutes, until just tender. Remove.
To serve: Place 2 oxtail slices on each plate. Strain the cooking sauce over the oxtails. Put 2 dumplings on each plate. Put one green and two white asparagus tips beside the dumplings on each plate. Sprinkle with chopped thyme.