It's hard to imagine that the year's clear winner would be a recipe for oxtails. But no recipe got more votes or more praise...Despite the name of the dish, the meat is not sweet; the orange juice and zest add a subtle citrus undertaste that balances the fatty richness of the oxtails.
2 cups fresh orange juice
20 whole cloves
5 whole allspice
2 teaspoons peppercorns
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 pounds oxtails
4 medium-large onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 cup beef stock
Reduce orange juice in skillet to 1 cup over medium heat, stirring often. Set aside.
Grind cloves, allspice, peppercorns and salt. Rub oxtails with ground spices, using only as much as needed.
Heat olive oil in heavy Dutch oven or enameled cast-iron pan with lid.
Brown oxtails thoroughly on all sides over medium-high heat, about 20 minutes. Set aside. Unless oil is scorched, use same oil, adding more if necessary, to fry onions, carrots and orange zest quickly until just brown at edges.
Add enough stock to fill pan scant 1/2 inch, about 1 cup. Loosen particles sticking to pan and bring to boil. Set oxtails on top of vegetables and simmering stock. Drizzle reduced orange juice over each oxtail. Cover and bake 2 1/2 to 3 hours at 300 degrees, until meat on bones is tender and caramelized.
Remove oxtails to platter or individual plates. Skim fat off pan drippings. Serve oxtails with pan drippings spooned over them. Makes 6 servings.