Recipe for Braised Oxtail with Creamy Polenta, Fried Eggs, and Garlic Toast

March 25, 2014 Updated: March 21, 2014

Braised Oxtail with Creamy Polenta, Fried Eggs, and Garlic Toast 

Courtesy of Emma Hearst and Sarah Krathen
Sorella, Lower East Side, NYC
From their debut cookbook “Sorella: Recipes, Cocktails & True Stories from Our New York Restaurant”

For the Braised Oxtail:
1/2 cup (4 fl ounces/125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
6–8 lb (3–4 kg) oxtails 
Kosher salt 
All-purpose flour for dusting
3 or 4 carrots, peeled and chopped 
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 oranges, chopped (with the peel) 
1/2 cup (4 ounces/125 g) tomato paste
2 cups (16 fl ounces/500 ml) dry white wine
2 cups (16 fl ounces/500 ml) whole milk
A few each fresh thyme sprigs, bay leaves, whole cloves, whole allspice, and black peppercorns

1. Preheat the oven to 225 F (110 C).
2. To make the braised oxtail, pour the olive oil into a roasting pan on the stove top (you may need to use 2 burners) and heat over high heat. Dry off the oxtails and season them liberally with salt. Give them a dust with some flour and place in the hot oil to sear, turning with tongs as needed to brown on all sides. When they are deeply brown all over, transfer to a plate and set aside.
3. Pour off some of the excess fat from the pan and throw in the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and oranges. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté until the vegetables are nicely browned and slightly caramelized, 8–10 minutes, being careful not to burn. Add the tomato paste, stir well, and cook until rust colored. Add the wine and milk and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom.
Return the oxtails to the pan and add the thyme, bay leaves, cloves, allspice, and peppercorns. Add water if needed just to cover the oxtails. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, transfer to the oven, and braise until the meat is falling off the bones, about 3 hours

For the Creamy Polenta:
2 cups (16 fl ounces/500 ml) whole milk
2 cups (16 fl ounces/500 ml) heavy cream, plus more for thinning if needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups (10 ounces/315 g) polenta or good-quality cornmeal 

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk, cream, 2 tablespoons salt, pepper to taste, and the nutmeg. When the mixture starts to simmer (but not boil), slowly pour in the polenta while whisking vigorously. Continue to whisk until the polenta begins to thicken, 7–9 minutes. Cook for another minute or so, then remove from the heat, cover tightly, and let stand for about 20 minutes.
2. When ready to serve, gently reheat the polenta over medium-low heat, adding a little more cream (or milk) if it has stiffened up too much. It should be the consistency of creamy pudding. Serve hot. 

To Assemble: 
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 batch Creamy Polenta (below)
8–12 slices good-quality ciabatta, or baguette (cut on the diagonal into crostini about 6 inches/15 cm long)
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
2 cloves garlic, cut in half lengthwise
4–6 eggs
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish 

1. Prepare the oxtail as directed. Reduce the braising liquid as directed and strain through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a saucepan. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Place over medium heat, add the oxtail meat, and warm gently. Stir in the butter, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
2. Gently rewarm the polenta, if necessary. Brush the bread slices with olive oil and toast them in a toaster or under the broiler until golden. While they are still warm, vigorously rub with the garlic clove halves and sprinkle with a bit of salt.
3. In a frying pan, fry the eggs sunny-side up and season with salt and pepper.
4. Spoon the polenta into individual shallow bowls or onto plates and top with a big scoop of the braised oxtail. Place an egg on top of each serving. Put 2 crostini on each plate and garnish the plate with a shower of Parmesan. Serve right away.