Ox tails on the table.
Last weekend, J. and I kicked off the holidays with a small dinner party. We invited a few friends and I cooked up a big batch of Roman style ox tails and polenta to go with it. We love to throw dinner parties, and with the girls ensconced at their grandma's for the night, it almost felt like the kind of parties we used to throw. (Know what I mean?)
I had so much fun tinkering with the table setting, setting out candles, and selecting the different wines. Five bottles and some Jameson's later, we were playing a furious game of "girls against boys" Guess The Celebrity (girls rule, boys drool), which devolved into a penis-y game of charades.
A great time was had by all, especially us. Here are some photos from the party if you want to take a peek.
As far as the ox tails, go, here is my basic recipe (which I tripled for the party). If you've never had them before, they are so worth cooking. They are fall-off-the-bone tender and taste just like beef shortribs. One tip I have for you, though, is to get the ox tails from a Korean market if you have one near you. (I go to Han Kook in Sunnyvale or Kukje in Daly City.) They are much cheaper at a Korean market where I paid about $13 per 2.5 lb package.
Also make them one day ahead, not only because they'll taste better, but also because after you refrigerate them you can degrease them almost completely.
I changed my original recipe slightly by doing the following:
- sauteeing some chopped pancetta with 3-4 bay leaves, shallots, celery and garlic before adding the oven-browned ox tails, tomatoes, and wine.
- adding about 6 cloves to the simmering sauce (I put them in those DIY tea bags, the kind for loose teas, so I can remove it later)
Other than that, the recipe is about the same. It's very forgiving--just think of it as making a rich, meaty spaghetti sauce (we served the ox tails over pasta the next night), and the meat you are adding is ox tails.