This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Rumba Meats. All opinions are 100% mine.
Crispy on the outside and meaty/creamy on the inside, these Oxtail Croquettes make the perfect finger food to serve at your soccer watch party! If you want to upgrade your game food to the next level, this recipe is for you.
Being Brazilian, soccer is almost a religion in my family!
If you happen to come by my parents’ house on a Wednesday night, chances are you will find us by the TV, surrounded by delicious snacks and pints of ice cold beer.
Well, I’m in the States now, so soccer is not as big part of my life like it used to be, and watch parties are reserved for big tournaments, as those are the only ones you can find in American television. The good news? There are a few happening this summer!
And even though Brazil may not be the favorite to win, you can bet I’ll be celebrating my favorite sport with good company and exquisite food.
Last weekend, I served my take on a popular Brazilian bar food: beef croquettes. I used my grandma’s recipe but used braised oxtail instead of the traditional pot roast.
The results were the most amazing, rich and tender oxtail croquettes, and I wish I had doubled the recipe, cause people were fighting over the last one. And by people I mean me!
Hostess etiquette went out of the window and I rushed to grab the last one of these insanely addicting bad boys. Sorry, guests, but I wasn’t expecting these to blow my mind so violently! Next time I promise there will be much more.
What is Oxtail?
Oxtail is the tail of the cow. Back in the days, it used to come from oxen (bovine adult males that were trained as draft animals), but today it comes from cattle of both genders.
If you’ve never tried it, you might get a little intimidated. After all, oxtail is not the prettiest cut of meat! But if you look past its appearance, you will find one of the best cuts for braising and stewing. Comparable to short ribs, but richer and even more tender.
Where to buy Oxtail?
Oxtail can be hard to find, depending where you are in the world.
In the States, I like the fresh, high-quality oxtail sold by Rumba Meats. They are:
- Vacuum-sealed for added freshness. And that makes them last longer in your refrigerator!
- Clearly labeled with use-by and sell-by information. That way you know exactly when to cook or freeze your meat.
- Hand-packed. All Rumba cuts are processed and packed by hand, so you get consistent quality in every cut.
How to cook Oxtail
Dishes with oxtail can be found in cuisines from all over the world. There’s the Italian Coda all Vaccinara (a classic of Roman cuisine), the Spanish Rabo de Toro (oxtail braised in sherry) and the popular British Oxtail soup.
I chose to make a Rabada, Brazilian Braised Oxtail, cooked in beer.
Since oxtail is so bony and fatty, it requires a long time to cook. In Brazil, those recipes are usually made in the pressure cooker to minimize the cooking time. As I’m not afraid of low and slow, I used my dutch oven instead!
I browned the oxtail pieces and then sautéd onions, garlic and juicy tomatoes. Poured the beer, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and added two bay leaves.
After 3 hours and a few episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale, my house smelled amazing, the meat was falling from the bone and the rendered stock was rich, thick and robust.
Because of the stout I used, I did find the stock a little bitter, so I added a pinch of brown sugar for balance. It is completely optional and if you use a sweeter stout (like a milk stout, for example), that won’t be necessary!
How to make Oxtail Croquettes
If you resisted eating the Rabada as-is, you should have the most tender oxtail meat, which should then be shredded to make the oxtail croquettes.
Here’s how you make them:
- Start by dissolving the flour in the milk and combining with the rendered sauce.
- Bring the shredded meat back to the pot and combine with the liquid mixture. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Cook, over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it comes together and starts releasing from the bottom of the pot. That should take about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the “dough” to a plate, cover with plastic and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
- Remove the meat dough from the refrigerator and form the oxtail croquettes (2-inch logs).
- In a shallow bowl, whisk the two eggs. In another bowl, place the breadcrumbs and season with salt. Working with one croquette at a time, dip in eggs and then coat it bread crumbs.
- Heat 2-inches vegetable oil in a medium saucepan, until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the croquettes until golden and crispy, about 2 minutes per batch, turning as needed. Transfer the oxtail croquettes to a paper towel lined plate to drain and serve hot.
What to serve with croquettes?
Down in Brazil, croquettes are commonly served with lime wedges and something to dip them, like Dijon mustard.
However, feel free to switch things up and serve your oxtail croquettes with whatever floats your boat. These are some suggestions:
- Roasted Garlic Aioli
- Yogurt Dill Dipping Sauce
- Spicy Mustard
- Chipotle Mayo or Sriracha Mayo
- Ranch Sauce
- Russian Dressing
- 2 pounds oxtail
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup stout
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- Optional: 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
For the Oxtail Croquettes:
- 1/2 cup rendered sauce
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup flour
- About 2 cups shredded braised oxtail
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
Making the Braised Oxtail:
- Season the oxtail with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, until shimmering. Add the oxtail pieces in a single layer, without overcrowding the pot. Sear the meat, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Remove the oxtail pieces and reserve.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic. Cook until fragrant and softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Pour the beer, beef broth and Worcestershire sauce. Add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, scrapping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Return oxtail to the pot. Cover, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 2 to 3 hours or until the meat is falling apart tender. Remove the oxtail pieces and shred the meat, discarding the bones and any large pieces of fat. Reserve.
- Bring the remaining sauce in the pot to a boil to reduce, over medium high heat, for about 15 minutes or until reduced by half. Remove the bay leaves. Spoon off fat from surface of pan juices and discard. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. If the sauce is too bitter, you can add a pinch of brown sugar to balance it out. Reserve.
Making the croquettes:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the rendered sauce, milk and the flour.
- Combine the shredded meat with the sauce/flour mixture in the dutch oven. Cook, over medium heat, until it comes together and starts releasing from the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the stove and let it cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for one hour.
- Remove the meat mixture from the refrigerator and form 2-inch logs.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk two eggs. In another bowl, place the breadcrumbs and season with salt. Working with one croquette at a time, dip in the eggs and coat with breadcrumbs.
- Heat 2-inches vegetable oil in a medium saucepan, until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the oxtail croquettes until golden and crispy, about 2 minutes per batch, turning as needed.
- Transfer the fried oxtail croquettes to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Serve hot with lime wedges and mustard.