Do i need to begin this post with a disclaimer? Something that goes: “People who have a problem with foie-gras can kiss my.. err.. donkey”. No, no, no… let’s not do that. Growing up in southwestern France i witnessed how the geese are raised and i could talk to you at length about it but i’m afraid it would bore you to death. All i can say it’s nothing like the horrors described by psycho-activist groups. Not even close. In case some people get angry at me for using foie-gras and believe me, there are angry people out there, my Zen logo (minus the chef hat) is patiently waiting here with a special message.
Oxtail is ideal for braising in wine, the cartilage, marrow, and tendons in the tail dissolve into the braising liquid when oxtails are cooked long and slow. The meat becomes meltingly tender and the sauce rich and unctuous. It would be perfect served over nothing else than a creamy polenta but the reason for this experiment is an oxtail & foie gras terrine recipe i wanted to try (i will blog about it one of these days). I made the terrine and found myself with a copious amount of leftover braised oxtail in that wonderful braising liquid. Of course i wanted to use all the flavors captured in the original dish to create something new and exciting. We aren’t gonna waste the precious, are we? That’s how this ravioli came along..
Now all you have to do is imagine the braised oxtail i just described wrapped in a ravioli with a chunk of foie gras in the middle tossed in a sauce enriched with the braising liquid, truffle juice and the same vegetables used for braising. Not bad, eh? Is there something better than a ravioli to trap all these delicious flavors?
I don’t think so.
Braised Oxtail & Foie-Gras Ravioli
- Serves 10
For the ravioli pasta:
- 6 cups “00″ flour, plus more for dusting work surface
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 whole eggs
- 5 yolks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
For the braised oxtail:
- 4 pounds oxtail, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1 stick butter
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 head garlic, cut in half
- 1/2 bunch parsley
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bottle dry red wine
- 8 cups beef or veal stock
- salt & pepper
- carrot, celery, turnip, diced and blanched
- 8 ounces foie-gras terrine (for the ravioli)
- Fresh herbs, chopped
- truffle juice (optional)
- chicken demi-glace
- 1/2 cup reserved braising liquid
For the ravioli dough:
- Combine the “00″ flour, the salt, the eggs, yolks and olive oil in a Kitchenaid bowl and combine on low speed using the dough hook (this also could be done by hand in a large bowl). Increase the speed until you get a rough dough. This should take 1 or 2 minutes.
- When the mixture comes together transfer to a floured clean surface and knead the dough, turning the inside-out, until you obtain a dough that’s smooth on the outside, adding flour everytime the dough starts to feel sticky. The whole process should take less than 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Time to start on the ravioli. Take the dough out from the fridge and place it on a floured surface. Cut it in 4 equal pieces. With a rolling pin make rectangle with the pieces of dough, so that they fit inside your pasta machine.
- Start rolling pasta sheets on the thickest setting and cut in half (so it doesn’t get too long). Keep rolling reducing the setting everytime. The number “8″ setting on this machine is where i usually stop.
- You should be able to see your hand through the pasta sheets when you have reached the right thickness. You want it thin but not so thin that it becomes fragile.
- Now for the fun part. Make an egg wash by beating an egg with a tablespoon of water. Cut sheets of pasta so they have about the same length and lay them on a floured surface. Place blops oxtail filling + a dice of foie-gras terrine at regular intervals using a revolutionary new-age piece of equipment called… err.. a spoon. Using a pastry brush, sweep some egg wash over the edges of the pasta and in-between each ravioli and down the center. Pick up another sheet of pasta and place on top, sealing the gaps between the filling by pressing gently with your fingers.
- Using a pasta-cutter, pastry cutter or whatever-the-heck-you-want cutter, make pretty shapes. Make sure each ravioli is sealed by pressing gently around the edges with your fingers. At this point, the ravioli can be frozen to be used at a later time. Make sure not to store them on top of each other, use cornmeal and separate them with layers of wax paper.
For the braised oxtail:
- Preheat oven to 300’F.
- Season the oxtail pieces with salt & pepper. Melt 3/4 of the butter in a dutch oven, add the oxtail and brown on side. Transfer the oxtail to a platter and discard the excess fat.
- Melt the remaining butter in the same pan and add the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, parsley, thyme and bay leaves and cook until the vegetables start to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and reduce until almost completely evaporated. Add the oxtail back to the pan and the beef or veal stock. Bring to a boil, skimming off the foam that rises to the surface. Cover the pan with a lid and braise in the oven for 3 hours.
- Remove the meat and strain the liquid. Discard the vegetables (or you could pick through them and mix them to the braised oxtail meat). Remove the meat from the bones whiles they’re still hot and check seasoning. Let it cool and use the shredded meat as stuffing for the ravioli.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the ravioli for 5 minutes. Drain.
- Meanwhile, in a large saute pan add the chicken demi-glace, some of the oxtail braising liquid and truffle juice to a boil and reduce until it coats the back of a spoon. Whisk in some butter and adjust seasoning. Toss in the ravioli, the blanched carrots, celery and turnips and herbs. Serve immediately.