I was talking to my friend Felicia at the box the other day and for some reason we got on about oxtail and who may or may not make the best. Now, I will give her that she may have some heritage to draw on, while I can only go by what I have read and been taught about island cooking from loads of people I have worked with in kitchens Through my career as a chef. Not that we’ve had a taste test, but I’m pretty sure that they are both equally great in their own right.
Felicia’s big thing during this convo was a side dish called Cou Cou. And in both our minds, this really makes or breaks the whole oxtail experience. Cou Cou is basically polenta (corn meal porridge) cooked with okra and sometimes onions, thyme and chili peppers. It is allowed to cool slightly and “set”.
At the Bamboo 2, I allowed it to set up in the fridge, cut it into triangles and reheated it on the grill before serving it with wilted swiss chard and the oxtail.
While this paleo version of Oxtail was cooking in the oven, I set out to experiment on creating an awesome substitute which I will post about later.
- 1 lrg Oxtail (cut into rounds 1 inch thick)
- 1 med Onion (sliced thin or chopped small)
- 2 cloves Garlic (coarse chopped)
- 2 tbsp Ghee
- 2 tbsp Coconut Oil
- 3 tbsp Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 2 tbsp Thyme (fresh, chopped)
- 2 tbsp Molasses (100% organic cane sugar)
- Enough Beef Stock to cover the oxtail
- 2 1/2 oz Rum
- In a large pan, heat the oils to high and brown the oxtail on both sides. Transfer the oxtail to a roasting pan that allows for a single layer. Reserve the oil.
- In the same pan with the reserved oil, saute the onions and the garlic for a few minutes on med high.
- Add in the thyme and other spices and cook for a few minutes.
- Add in the molasses and some stock.
- Pour the sauce over top of the oxtail in the roasting pan and top up with some more beef stock until just under the top of the oxtail.
- Cover and place in a 325° oven for 2 hours.
- Uncover, skim off any excess fat and add the rum.
- Place back in the oven for another 15-30 minutes, or until tender.
Serve this paleo oxtail with my paleo version of Cou Cou, or with an nice mashed sweet potato and celeriac.