Steal This Recipe® Red Wine Risotto with Braised Oxtail | Bistrot Zinc, Chicago

March 31, 2011

Steal This Recipe® Red Wine Risotto with Braised Oxtail

Stolen with permission from Bistrot Zinc’s chef Tim Kirker, this tasty, hearty recipe is sure to impress!

Bistrot Zinc is an authentic French bistro which opened in 1998, serving traditional classic and contemporary French food giving this little slice of Chicago the feel of Paris with an ambiance of tiled floors, tin ceilings and a beautifully handcrafted zinc bar. And the restaurant gives patrons the taste of Paris with choices like Seared Tuna with artichokes, shaved fennel, and green onion puree, House-Smoked Sturgeon with celery root rémoulade, Grilled Salmon with shiitake-asparagus sauté and sauce béarnaise, and Pan-Roasted Monkfish with lentils, bacon, and horseradish crème fraîche.

About the chef: Tim Kirker headed to Minnesota for college seeking an experience to rival the richness of his Maine upbringing. The tentative pursuit of a teaching career gave way to the allure and excitement of a professional kitchen. Cooking became his window into regional and world cultures, helping feed the same curiosity that led to a history degree at Carleton College.

He moved to Manhattan to work at the stately Waldorf-Astoria after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America. Successive jobs on both coasts have included the Peninsula Chicago, San Francisco’s Bacar, Tabla and Peacock Alley in NYC, and Domaine Chandon in the Napa Valley.

Chef Kirker has also honed his outdoor cooking skills while paddling, cycling, and camping throughout the Northern Hemisphere including a season as chef of a fly-fishing camp in the Yukon delta and extended bike tours of Iceland and the Continental Divide.

Bistrot Zinc 
1131 North State Street 
Chicago, IL 60610 
312 337 1131

Red Wine Risotto with Braised Oxtail is served at Bistrot Zinc for $11.95. 
This recipe makes six restaurant appetizer servings.

Red Wine Risotto with Braised Oxtail Ingredients for the Risotto:
1 ½ cups arborio or carnaroli rice
1 cup Spanish onion, small dice
2 cups dry, red wine
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons whole butter
Salt and ground white pepper
2-4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated (any quality, hard grating cheese will do)
Shaved Parmesan, as needed

Ingredients for the Braised Oxtail:
3 pounds oxtail
1 large Spanish onion, large dice
4 cloves peeled garlic
1 cup dry, red wine
3 cups veal stock
6 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Oxtail:
(Chef’s note: I recommend doing this step days or even a week before you will need it. It takes some time but may be done in stages.)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Liberally season the oxtail with salt and pepper and brown in an appropriately sized Dutch oven (we will use this same dish to braise the meat in the oven.) 
Remove the oxtail from the pan and add the onions and garlic. 
Cook over medium-high heat until the onions are just starting to brown evenly. 
This should take about ten minutes and is important for developing flavor. 
Add the red wine and reduce in the pan by half. 
Add the veal stock, bring to a simmer, and then add the oxtail and fresh thyme. 
Cover the Dutch and place in the oven. 
Check the oxtails after 1 ½ hours. The meat should easily separate from the bone and surrounding connective tissue. If they need more time, return to the oven for another 20-30 minutes. 
(This is a pretty forgiving piece of meat which shows poorly if undercooked so be patient.) 
When cooked, remove the oxtails from the pan and set on a cutting board to cool. 
Strain the stock through a strainer to remove the vegetable matter. 
(It is important at this point to let the stock sit so the fat can separate from the remaining liquid. This will happen on the counter top in about a half-hour, at which point you can use a ladle to remove and discard the fat, or you can let it sit in the fridge overnight and skim the solidified layer of fat from the top and discard.) 
Reduce the remaining broth by about half. (It should have some body to it but not be over-reduced as this will result in tacky mouth feel and may become too salty.) 
Combine the stock and chopped oxtail and reserve until you are ready to make your risotto.
(It is easier to pick the oxtail from the bone when warm. If you have saved this step for the next day as well, warm the meat in a microwave for two minutes, only a touch more if needed. Separate the dark, leaner meat from the bone, larger pieces of fat, and connective tissue. Discard all but the leaner meat and chop this into pieces small enough to fit on a spoon.)

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Risotto:
Heat the oxtails with their liquid in a sauce pot and keep it handy. 
Sweat the onions and two pinches of salt in two tablespoons of whole butter until the onions are translucent. 
Add the rice and combine to thoroughly coat the grains with butter. 
Add the two cups of dry red wine, bring to a simmer, and stir every couple of minutes until the wine has been absorbed by the rice. 
Add the half of the chicken broth and continue to stir until the stock has been mostly absorbed. 
(At this point, check the rice’s bite and add more chicken stock if needed; you still need to add the cooked oxtails with their cooking liquid so be careful not to add too much chicken broth. There are many schools of thought on perfect risotto, but aim for rice that finds the happy medium between crunchy and gummy – al dente.)
When the rice is ready, add the oxtails and some of the reduced veal sauce, bring back to a simmer, and check for seasoning.
Add the grated cheese minutes before serving and give a quick stir. 
Plate the dish and garnish sparingly with some grated Parmesan and a drizzle of reduce oxtail jus.