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Recipe: Barley Risotto


Note: From a story on a day behind the scenes at Joachim Splichal's Patina restaurant, this recipe is neither low-fat nor fast. But one taste and you'll understand why--despite the winds of fashion--this kind of cooking is still in favor. After completing the cooking process--including 4 1/2 hours of cooking the oxtail--you may also understand why a meal in a fine restaurant costs so much.

Oxtail Meat and Braising Juice

1 large yellow onion, diced

3/4 cup butter

1 cup white wine, preferably Chardonnay

1/2 pound pearl barley

3 cups chicken stock, about

1 carrot, diced

1 leek, white part only, diced

5 shallots, minced

Cloves from 1/2 head garlic, diced

Salt, pepper

1 cup finely chopped parsley

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cut oxtail meat into small pieces and reserve. Reduce braising juice to about 2 cups. Strain and reserve.

Place onion in saucepan with 2 tablespoons butter and saute until caramelized. Deglaze with wine until liquid evaporates. Add barley and roast 2 minutes, stirring. Add chicken stock and simmer until barley is al dente, about 30 minutes. If barley doesn't cook through, add bit more chicken stock than called for until stock reduces. Repeat process 2 to 3 times as necessary.

Saute carrot, leek, shallots and garlic separately, using 1 1/2 tablespoons butter for each vegetable. Combine vegetables in bowl and refrigerate.

Combine cooked barley, sauteed vegetables and 1/2 cup reduced braising juice in large saucepan, Cook over medium-high heat until liquid is absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup reduced juice, stirring until additional liquid is completely absorbed. Repeat process until all reduced juices are absorbed. Add reserved chopped oxtail. Whisk in remaining 1/4 cup butter, little at time, until it emulsifies into risotto. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place in serving dish and top with parsley and Parmesan cheese. Makes 8 servings, about 6 cups.

Each serving contains about: 470 calories; 1,430 mg sodium; 77 mg cholesterol; 28 grams fat; 32 grams carbohydrates; 19 grams protein; 0.8 grams fiber.

Oxtail Meat and Braising Juice

2 1/4 pounds oxtail, cut up

1 large yellow onion, sliced

2 heads garlic, sliced in half

6 sprigs thyme, tied in bundle

4 bay leaves

2 quarts chicken stock

Combine oxtail, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and chicken stock in large casserole. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 325 degrees about 4 1/2 hours, until beef is tender and just about falling off bone.

Strain meat juices and reserve. (Should have about 4 cups.) Pick meat off bones and, if cooking ahead, refrigerate. Oxtail can be prepared 1 day ahead.

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