As summer winds down and I head to the back of my closet to pull out my sweaters and jeans. I also start yearning for comfort foods like stews and hearty soups. Over the weekend we head out to make the rounds at our favorite food marts. Just as we find short ribs for a delicious hearty Korean stew called Khal Bi Jim we spy right next to the short ribs…oxtails.
Are you thinking what? Oxtails? Are they really…swish, swish, yep, they are. Haven’t tried them? The meat is rich and flavorful. It has a bit more texture than short ribs and if you like chomping on bones, you’ll love oxtails. There is another reason to give this recipe a whirl….
INSTANT POT. I google oxtails, pressure cooker and the blog Korean Bapsang pops up with a recipe for Koriijim or braised oxtails. Bingo. Normally oxtails need quite a bit of time braising to get to the tender fall off the bone stage which is generally around 3 hours. This means starting pretty darn early in the day to have dinner on the table at a decent time. This time? I browned the oxtails, poured the marinade/sauce over the meat and topped it with carrots, potatoes and onions. I twisted the lid on and set the cook time to 45 MINUTES. Yep, not a typo-45 MINUTES. Whoa, less than half the time to cook this dish. WOOHOO. The recipe calls for onions, mushrooms and carrots. I like lots of vegetables so I added potatoes and extra carrots. I might even add squash or another root vegetable like parsnips next time. If you don’t have dried shiitakes you can use fresh mushrooms. The recipe calls for a Korean plum sauce, maesil cheong, a sweet-sour sauce often used as a sweetener. Not having any I decided to use Chinese plum sauce which may be totally off base but its what I have and it is sweet and a bit tart. You can skip it altogether and use sugar and honey, 1 tablespoon of each.
Classic Asian flavors-soy sauce, sesame, garlic, ginger and onions in a hearty, down-home stew. Delicious. As the weather starts to cool try this dish. If you are really not thrilled with oxtails try this with bone-in short ribs cut into 2-3 inch pieces (ask your butcher) just as tasty. I love autumn.
- 3 to 4 pounds oxtail
- 1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
- 2-3 carrots, cut into large chunks
- 1 shite potato cut into large chunks
- 3 to 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, briefly soaked and quartered (use fresh mushrooms if not available)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup rice wine (or mirin a sweet Japanese cooking wine)
- 1/2 medium Asian pear (or 1 bosc pear or apple), grated
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 inch ginger, grated (about 1 teaspoon)
- 3 tablespoons honey (or sugar)
- 3 tablespoons maesil cheong (or 1 more tablespoon honey or sugar)
- pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 scallions, roughly chopped (and some finely sliced for optional garnish)
- sesame seeds-toasted
- Trim off excess fat. Rinse the oxtail pieces and let them sit in cold water for 10 to 20 minutes to draw out excess blood. Drain well, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Press the “Saute” button on the Instant Pot. When the pot is hot, add 1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil. Sear the oxtail pieces in two batches, browning all sides. Or sear in separate pan and place in Instant Pot
- Combine ingredients for braising liquid and pour the braising liquid over oxtails. Add the vegetables.
- Close the lid tightly. Press the “Meat” function, and using the “+” button, increase the time to 45-48 minutes. 48 minutes for softer meat. When finished, the Instant Pot will automatically turn to the “Keep Warm” mode. Leave the pressure cooker alone for about 10 minutes before opening the lid.
- Stir in the scallion and the sesame oil. Remove the meat and vegetables from the pressure cooker. Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl to skim off the fat. Pour sauce over the ribs.
- Garnish with the optional scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with hot rice.