Sunday, April 15, 2012

Oxtail Ragu and Fennel Pollen Pasta



Ready to experiment with some new ingredients today? One of my favorite things about cooking is discovering new things and challenging myself to make something that I might not normally try.

This week, the Virtual Potluck team is taking you on a Spice Adventure and I think you're really going to enjoy it. Donna from Cookistry has the roundup page where you can follow along with the whole team. We're working with Savory Spice Shop and each of us is focusing an a different area of the shop.

Savory Spice Shop is one of the most comprehensive spice stores online. They not only provide fantastic products but they also have a wealth of knowledge on where the spices come from and how to best use them to make some amazing food. I found so much useful information and loved just browsing through the store.
The area that I chose to highlight was the exotics! There were so many things that I had never used and I knew I could have some fun with these. When Mike from Savory Spice Shop suggested highlighting the Korean Black Garlic, Juniper Berries or Fennel Pollen, he joked about using them all in one dish. I had no plans to but as I got to thinking I came up with a great idea to highlight the unique flavors of all of these great ingredients.


Have you used any of these three that I chose? Check out the Spice Shop to learn more but here are a few fun things about each one:

Korean Black Garlic


This stuff really is black, and is so different than anything I expected. It's almost sweet and then has a garlic aftertaste. It has a gummy texture and really almost could be a snack food. It's not really a direct replacement for garlic but can be used in similar dishes. I used the garlic in the ragu and while it certainly wasn't highlighted in this dish, it still provided some sweetness.

Juniper Berries
While I was familiar with Juniper Berries, I had never used them previously. They come from the Juniper evergreen shrub and have a pretty unique flavor. Surprisingly spicy with just a bit of pine flavor. They are used a lot in venison and other game dishes because they help to reduce the "gamey" flavor of those meats. I crushed the berried before adding to the ragu and you could definitely tell they were there. I loved the spiciness that they added and it paired perfectly with the oxtail

Fennel Pollen


I was really excited to try this one. I've heard so much about it and really wanted to find a way to highlight it's unique flavor. Like fennel seed, it has a licorice flavor but it is much smoother and just feels more luxurious. It grows wild throughout California and has so many uses, I just couldn't wait. I absolutely loved the pollen mixed into the pasta. It not only added a great texture to the pasta but it provided that subtle flavor all the way through the dish.


Each of the Virtual Potluck team is giving away a different prize pack from the area of the shop that they reviewed. My gift set is Flavors of Morocco, a great set of combinations to add some new spice to your dishes.


If you'd like a chance to win this gift set, visit the Savory Spice Shop on Facebook and click on the Virtual Potluck tab on their page. Find my section and leave a comment below telling me what your favorite spice would be. For additional entries (leave a new comment for each):


Oxtail Ragu with Fennel Pollen Pasta

Ragu


Ingredients
5 pounds 2- to 3-inch pieces oxtails
All purpose flour
1 teaspoon fennel pollen
1/2 cup olive oil
5 large celery stalks, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled, chopped
1 large onion, very coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes with added puree
2 Korean black garlic cloves, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoons juniper berries
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
3 bay leaves
2 cups beef broth
1 cup low-salt chicken broth


Directions
Preheat oven to 325°F. Sprinkle oxtails with salt, pepper, and fennel pollen, then flour. Heat oil in heavy wide ovenproof pot over high heat. Add oxtails; cook until brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Add celery, carrots, and onion to pot. Reduce heat to medium-high and sauté until vegetables brown, about 15 minutes. Add juice, vinegar and tomatoes. Boil until thickened to chunky sauce, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, juniper berries, parsley, rosemary and bay leaves. Return oxtails to pot in single layer. Add all broth; bring to boil. Cover pot; place in oven.
Braise oxtails until very tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Transfer oxtails to rimmed baking sheet. Using potato masher, crush juices and vegetables in pot to coarse sauce. Pull meat off oxtails and add to sauce. Season ragù with salt and pepper.

 Fennel Pollen Pasta
Ingredients
1 1/3 cups Semolina flour
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel pollen
Directions
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.

Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, fennel pollen and oil.

Mix together until it combine and then knead until it becomes smooth, 4-5 minutes.

Wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out and run it through a pasta machine and cut.




Disclaimer: I was provided these spices and the gift pack free of charge. The opinions are my own.

64 comments:

  1. oh have to get some korean aged black garlic to try Love my garlic and need in my rub along with their hickory spice

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  2. Follow Thyme in Our Kitchen on Twitter @cjsorel

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  3. Hey by the way thanks for a great idea on using the ox tails I received with my steer purchase. Been sitting if freezer looking for a new idea

    Like Thyme In Our Kitchen on Facebook

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  4. Follow Savory Spice Shop on Twitter as @cjsorel

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  5. Oxtail really is the best and most under used protein. I love it...and my kids do too. Great recipe Matt.

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  6. I'm following you on FB.
    cereza25 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Following SSS on Twitter.
    cereza25 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Following you on Twitter.
    cereza25 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  9. This looks really amazing. Glad I found you through Donna's page (Cookistry).

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  10. I follow Savory Spice on Twitter

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  11. The only you used that I have tried is juniper berry, but I think they really do go well with venison (which I happen to cook with quite often).

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  12. Cardamom is my favorite spice, but I've never tried any black cardamom, so that would be my choice of a new spice to try.

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  13. I have liked Savory Spice Shop on Facebook.

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  14. I am following Savory Spice Shop on Twitter.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I would love to use the Marrakech spice in couscous and serve it with beef for my French husband. He had a Moroccan friend growing up in France and still raves about the couscous they served!

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  16. Very impressive! Curious to try fennel pollen now.

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  17. I've never made oxtails but this sounds amazing! Nice job incorporating the spices.

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  18. dried curry leaves... i wish i had a curry tree...

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  19. i like savory spice shop on facebook

    ReplyDelete
  20. I follow savory spice shop on twitter

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  21. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices - but the black garlic - that would be interesting to try - I love garlic.

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  22. I followed you on twitter @icywit

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  23. I've always been curious about cardamom and I have a terrific recipe for Cherry Cardamom Pie that I'd love to try with Savory Spice's variety.

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  24. I checked your section, and I would like to try the horseradish powder. I would love to learn different dishes to use this in.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I follow Thyme in Our Kitchen on Twitter.

    @grobiemum

    ReplyDelete
  26. I like Thyme In Our Kitchen on Facebook.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I like Savory Spice Shop on Facebook.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I follow Savory Spice Shop on Twitter.

    @grobiemum

    ReplyDelete
  29. I now follow Savory Spice Shop Online on Facebook.

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  30. Must confess black garlic has always kind of scared me, so I'd have to face my fears.

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  31. Savory Spice liked on Facebook

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  32. Following Savory Spice on Twitter

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  33. Great photography and a beautiful recipe! Nice job!

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  34. I'd like to give the Hibiscus Flowers a try!
    jlammers002@woh.rr.com

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  35. I follow you on Twitter.
    jlammers002@woh.rr.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. I like you on Facebook

    ReplyDelete
  37. I follow Savory Spice shop on Twitter.
    jlammers002@woh.rr.com

    ReplyDelete
  38. I like Savory Spice shop on Facebook.
    jlammers002@woh.rr.com

    ReplyDelete
  39. From your Virtual Potluck section, I would try the Cracked Galangal Root because I have heard about it but never tried it.

    randcbruns AT kci DOT net

    ReplyDelete
  40. I like Savory Spice Shop on Facebook.

    randcbruns AT kci DOT net

    ReplyDelete
  41. I think the Juniper berries sound pretty good.
    amylammers@rocketmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  42. I like your Facebook page.
    amylammers@rocketmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  43. I like Savory Spice Shop on Facebook.
    amylammers@rocketmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  44. Fennel pollen and wasabi powder sound good :)

    sweepinpianista at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  45. I follow you on Twitter (as picatasi)

    ReplyDelete
  46. I liked Savory Spices on FB

    ReplyDelete
  47. I follow Savory Spice Shop on Twitter (as picatasi)

    ReplyDelete
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