Hi Friends. Sorry for the lack of posts the last few weeks. I've been so distracted with... BEING ENGAGED!!!!!! My little cutie of a Norwegian popped the question over Thanksgiving while we were surrounded with both of our families and closest friends. It couldn't have been more perfect. I should have suspected something when the day before he proposed, him and his mom bought like 50 bottles of champagne- I just thought to myself "welp, that's a sign we drink too much!"
The night he proposed, we had over 50 people at my childhood home in Florida for a big dinner party. We ate Norwegian snacks like Pølse i lompe, rakfisk, and fenalår (I'll make those in a post one day!) and to finish off we had low country boil! It was so fun for everyone on both sides to eat food from our different cultures.
After dinner, when he got up to make a toast around the fire I had a feeling it was about to happen! I started crying immediately, you know me. After the sweetest toast and his perfect proposal we spent the night laughing and celebrating with the people we love the most. Besides the night that I met him, it was the best night of my life.
We're heading back to Florida for Christmas and I couldn't be more thrilled to get a little vitamin D in my bloodstream. We've had two major snow days in Portland in the month of December. The town turns apocalyptic when it snows - not even kidding. The roads shut down since there's no snow management, and we're forced to stay inside and snuggle all day and eat comfort food. Darn, don't you hate that? :)
This oxtail ragu is so good I can't even begin to tell you. Thomas made this at his cabin in Norway two winters ago and I've been dreaming of it ever since. To make it even better, we loaded the ragu on top of buttery pappardelle noodles and topped it with wine-y caramelized onions. It's slow braised, it's comfort food, it's good people.
A bottle of red, the twinkling tree, this ragu, and Scrooged (Bill Murray version) are all you need in this last week before Christmas to get you in the spirit.
P.s. Is it a little weird that Bill Murray's Scrooged is the first movie that popped in my head?!
Happy Holidays Everyone!
Oxtail Ragu Pappardelle
(Adapted from Jaime Oliver's Oxtail Stew)
For the Ragu
- 5 pounds oxtail
-2 medium leeks
-3 sticks of celery
-a few sprigs of fresh thyme
-6 garlic cloves, minced
-2 dried bay leaves
-2 tablespoons of tomato paste
-2 28 oz cans of plum tomatoes (use whatever you have on hand, crushed tomatoes work too!)
-2 bottles of Guinness beer
-2 tablespoons of concentrated beef stock (I use Better Than Bouillon)
-Pappardelle noodles (homemade is best)
For the onions
-1 large onion, thinly sliced
-1/2 bottle red wine
-1 cup of water/spoonful of beef concentrate
What to do
1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle oxtail with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 or so minutes until golden brown.
2) meanwhile, trim the leeks and celery and chop into rough pieces. Peel and chop the carrots and place all the vegetables in a large pot and sauté over medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Pick and roughly chop the thyme leaves and add that to the mix along with the minced garlic when the veggies are starting to soften.
3) Stir the tomato paste into the mix and cook it off for 2 minutes.
4) Add in the oxtails, and pour in the tomatoes, 1 Guinness beer, bay leaves, cloves, and 2 tablespoons of beef stock.
5) Turn the heat down and simmer the mixture for 5-6 hours. The key is to reduce, reduce, reduce. I have to be honest, thomas and I typically taste and adjust as we go but this is as accurate as possible.
6) When you can tell the meat is falling off the bone, remove the oxtail pieces onto a plate and shred the meat and put back into the pot. This is the best part because you can eat the meat off the bone!
7) prepare the Pappardelle noodles. After ours were boiled, we tossed them in a little hot milk and butter to make it even more delicious and to prevent them from sticking.
8) While the noodles are cooking, thinly slice one onion.
9) Heat a skillet over medium heat, pour an even, thin layer of sugar and let it sit until it caramelizes. Do not stir it! Be careful though, because this step happens fast! Then, add the sliced onion, wine, water, and beef stock. Let it simmer until it reduces into a thick sauce.
Plate: Twirl a mound of pappardelle on a plate, top with ragu, caramelized onions, and drizzle with a little of the reduced sauce. Enjoy!
Note on the ragu: We started with one bottle of beer, but as it reduced over several hours it needed another beer, so just adjust as you go. If it suits you to add more beef stock, do it. If you want to drink a Guinness or two while you're cooking, do it. :)