I know I've talked to you all about Amanda before, whether it was a recipe recommendation, chili club, a beer recommendation, helping me drink beer or riding out Hurricane Irene. Well I hope you're not sick of hearing about her, because she made an amazing dinner for us last week.
Amanda's my best friend, we were roommates in college, roommates after college, and then we got married (not to each other, but to our lucky husbands) and ended up living in the same apartment building in Jersey City. Now that I'm moving, all I have to say is thank goodness for Face Time, so we can still drink wine 'together' while she helps me pick out which dress or shoes I should wear, all while living on opposite coasts.
Amanda wanted to make us a nice dinner before we head to Seattle in a couple of weeks, and she out did herself. I'm not exaggerating, the thought of the tender oxtail falling off the bone and the caramelized shallot mashed potatoes still makes my mouth water. And the wine was flowing!
Let's start with the first course, a Spicy Green Salad with Manchego and Pears. Just look at how pretty it is!
Can you really ever go wrong with manchego? You can't, especially when it's paired with pears. This recipe is from Epicurious and you can find it here, definitely give it a try!
And now the main feature and dish I can't pronounce, the Oxtail Bourguinonne and Caramelized Shallot Mashed Potatoes. I know, fancy.
You can find the Caramelized Shallot Mashed potato recipe here and the Oxtail Bourguinonne below, both recipes are from Epicurious.
8 slices of bacon, diced
3 large fresh parsley sprigs
3 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 large fresh bay leaves
1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4-1/4 pounds meaty oxtail pieces, with excess fat trimmed
2 small to medium onions, chopped
1 cup diced carrot, plus 6 carrots cut into 2 inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, 1 minced & 3 whole
1-3/4 cups beef broth
1-1/2 cups red Burgundy wine
1 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced
12 small shallots, blanched 1 minute & then peeled
Cook bacon over medium high heat in a large dutch oven. Stirring bacon pieces around occasionally, until bacon is brown and crisp. Transfer bacon to plate with a slotted spoon, reserving grease. Pour bacon grease into small bowl. Add 6 tablespoons of bacon grease back to pot, supplementing with olive oil if needed. Reserve bacon for another use.
Bundle the herbs together, by tying parsley, thyme and bay leaves together with kitchen string. This is called a bouquet garni.
Stir 1 tablespoon of flour and butter together in small bowl, until it is a smooth paste, set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1-1/2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and nutmeg. Add oxtail, a few pieces at a time, to coat with flour mixture.
Heat bacon grease over medium high heat. Add oxtails, a few pieces at a time, and brown all sides, approximately 6 minutes per batch. Once browned, remove oxtails and set aside.
Once all oxtails are browned and set aside, reduce heat to medium low. Add chopped onions, diced carrot and minced garlic to pot with bacon grease. Cook for about 6 minutes, until onions are soft. Add oxtails back to pan (along with any juices that were accumulated). Add bundle of herbs, broth and then wine. Increase heat and bring to boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 3 hours (adjusting heat as needed to keep it at a simmer). Mix in mushrooms, shallots, carrot pieces and whole garlic cloves. Increase heat and bring to boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to simmer, cooking for about 45 more minutes, until meat and vegetables are tender.
Tilt pot and spoon off any fat that rises to the top. Stir in flour paste and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, sauce should slightly thicken. If needed, season with salt and pepper.