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Main Dish

Oxtail tacos

"Caribbean tacos are my favorite because of the fusion of flavors," chef Quinnton Austin said. "They add a fun and sweet heat flair to the game of tacos."

Chef Quinnton Austin
Louisiana Purchase, San Diego

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Papaya and corn relish
1 cup roasted corn
1 cup diced papaya
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. diced jalapeño
1 tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste

Oxtail braise
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 small carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 tsp. brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp. jerk seasoning
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 lb. oxtails, cut into 2-inch-thick cross sections
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 cup dry red wine
1 bay leaf
1 star anise pod
Pinch of ground cloves
8 homestyle chile tortillas
Pickled red onion and fresh cilantro leaves, to taste (see note)


For relish: Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.

For tacos: In a large, oven-proof saucepot, sauté celery, carrots and onion in oil for 15 minutes or until sweated down. Stir in garlic. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, jerk seasoning, ginger, salt and pepper. Season oxtails with brown sugar mixture, then lightly dust with flour. Place oxtails in saucepot with sautéed vegetables, and add stock, wine, bay leaf, star anise and cloves. Cover and cook in a 325-degree oven for 2 1/2 hours or until meat is tender and falls off the bone.

To serve: Char tortillas on the stovetop. Top with oxtail meat, relish, pickled red onion and cilantro.

Note: You can buy pickled onions or make your own by modifying this recipe for pickled watermelon. Use 1 red onion (sliced) in place of watermelon. Boil for only 5 minutes and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serves 4

Photo: © 2019 Walter Wilson

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