The other day we were preparing a batch of braised oxtail to add a new pasta dish to our menu. Local oxtail can be hard to find as not many cattle are processed at the local abattoir. Therefore the butcher will have a waiting list for key customers.
In Malta we do not have a deep tradition for cooking oxtail like places in Rome (Italy) and Seville (Spain). For example while in Rome (Coda alla Vaccinara) and Seville (Rabo de Toro) the oxtail is stewed with tomatoes, carrots and red wine, in Malta common practice within household would be to add the oxtail to a vegetable broth.
Once the cold winter months pass, soups are not so popular within households. Then it makes it much easier for us to get our fair share of local oxtail. We succeed in getting around two to three oxtail every two weeks and once we have a sufficient amount we braise slowly all together with a classic mirepoix, red wine and herbs.
Back to our oxtail braising
Once the oxtail was all braised, the plan was to pull the meat and create a nice oxtail and tomato ragu to enjoy with pasta. At the time we had plenty of oxtail that the ragu pot was quite full. Therefore we started to consider what we can do with the excess oxtail meat.
After browsing some of our cookbooks and searching the internet, we settled for making a pâté. To be honest we love pâtés and the initial plan was to make a small batch to enjoy with some wine as an after-service snack. Toasted sourdough and a nice piece of mature Manchego cheese and you got all the elements of the simple pleasures in life.
We really liked the experiment that we think the pâté has the potential to be an intriguing starter on our menu. We will see. In the meantime we are savouring the final few jars we have.
- Food Processor
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Small Sterilised Jars
- 500 grams Oxtail (braised meat)
- 2 Bulbs Wild Onion (roughly chopped)
- 1 Bulb Garlic (pealed and crushed)
- 200 grams Butter
- 6 sprigs Thyme
- 1 Orange
- 1 cup Parsley (roughly chopped)
- 200 ml Beef Stock (from oxtail braising dish)
- 1 Tsp All Spice
- 1 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Tsp Salt (to season)
- After the braised oxtail has cooled down, pull the meat off the tail and break with your own hands. Some disposable gloves can come in handy.
- In a medium hot skillet, sauté the wild onion, garlic and thyme with half the butter. Simmer slowly to soften and slightly caramelise the onion and garlic. Once the butter starts to foam you are ready. Add the contents of the skillet to the bowl with the oxtail meat.
- In the same bowl add the zest and juice of an orange. Add the parsley, beef stock, all spice and pepper and combine. Add the remaining butter and transfer to a food processor to blend into a rough paste. It is up to you on how smooth you would like the texture. Season with salt.
- Transfer to sterilised jars and once cool refrigerate immediately. Depending on how long you want the pâté, you can seal the tops with melted butter before placing the lid and closing the jar.