Braised Oxtails with Tomato Gremolata

Serves 4 

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces salt pork or slab bacon, cut into ¼-inch-by-1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
2 pounds oxtails, cut into 1-inch rounds
3 medium carrots, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, split lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces
1 medium leek, white part only, washed, quartered, and cut in 1-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, peeled and mashed
4 fresh plum tomatoes, peeled (canned may be used)
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Herb bouquet made with 12 parsley stems, 4 thyme sprigs, 1 bay leaf
Tomato Gremolata

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place a heavy-bottomed ovenproof pot or skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the salt pork or bacon and brown, rendering the fat. Remove the browned pieces and set aside.

Mix the flour with 1 teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Dredge the oxtails with the seasoned flour and brown on all sides in the pot. Remove the oxtails and set aside. Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pot and add the carrots, celery, onion, and leeks. Saute the vegetables for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Add the garlic, tomatoes, oxtails, salt pork or bacon, wine stock, vinegar, and herb bouquet, and the remaining salt and pepper. bring to a simmer on top of the stove, cover, and place in the preheated oven. Cook slowly until the oxtails are very tender, about 2 ½ hours. Skim the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid. May be prepared up to a day ahead and refrigerated. Reheat before serving.

Serve over homemade noodles or on a bed of scalloped potatoes. Top with tomato gremolata.