Chef Charles Phan brings us the best of modern Vietnamese cuisine from his famed San Francisco restaurant in The Slanted Door.
This classic stew gets its Vietnamese kick from the addition of lemongrass, Thai chiles, and star anise, but, as in all stews, it’s really the sauce that matters. It should be rich and thick, so allow plenty of time on the stove for the tomatoes and onions to break down and the flavors to meld. Don’t forget to start a day before serving this dish, since it’s best for the oxtail to sit overnight after you rub it with salt and pepper. Serve with steamed rice and vegetables.
- Season the oxtail liberally with salt and pepper and refrigerate overnight.
- Heat a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, adding enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Working in batches, sear the oxtail until the meat is browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Set aside the browned meat and turn down the heat to medium.
- Add 3 tablespoons of oil to the same pot and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized, about 7 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, red wine, tomato paste, and ginger. Bruise the lemongrass by smashing with the bottom of a small pot or the dull side of a cleaver, and add to the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the beef stock, celery, carrots, cloves, star anise, chiles, and oxtail and continue to simmer until the meat falls off the bone, about another 3 hours. Garnish with cilantro.
Reprinted with permission from The Slanted Door, copyright (c) 2014 by Charles Plan. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.