Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Oxtail and Goat Cheese / by Alice Zhao

Back in 2005 our group of foodie friends took a trip to Barcelona. It was my first international vacation and my first foray in experiencing real food in a foreign country, completely unadulterated by Americans (heh). Looking back, we realized we probably should have taken the time out to do a lot more research as to which restaurants and what foods to try. I mean there is nothing wrong with a restorante Chino in Barcelona (hahaha we were desperate and wanted to be full). But at the very least that trip introduced us to Spanish tapas and Iberico Jamon....mmmh, which to this day we still love and thoroughly enjoy.
As Jared was making his rounds for groceries, he stopped by H-mart. The had a special on fresh oxtail in a bin that you can pick from for only 3.99 per lb. Usually, when you buy the packaged kind, they throw in the small ends with more bone than meat. But when you get to choose the oxtail yourself you get to select all the big meaty pieces. Jared usually buys oxtail to make soup, but the stuffed piquillo pepper dish suddenly came to him in his sleep last night. Seriously! Actually, this dish has been on Jared's mind for a while now ever since he had it at a tapas restaurant years ago. So today was the perfect opportunity for him to start putting together his version of stuffed piquillo peppers. I have to say that the result was pretty dang awesome.

The creaminess of the goat cheese, the sweetness of the roasted pepper and the tender oxtail with the demi-glace melds into something magical in your mouth. I had one bite and I was a believer. We also dipped slices of grilled bread and into the chili garlic oil that made it all the more addicting. Its that good people. I know this recipe is pretty involved, but if you have the time do give it a try. You will not be disappointed.

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers

Ingredients

1 can or jar of piquillo pepper
Shredded oxtail meat
1/2 medium onion (cut lengthwise)
2 cups oxtail stock (below)
1 tsp flour
1 clove garlic (minced)
Chili garlic oil (below)
Goat cheese
Parsley
Salt & Pepper

Recipe:

  • In a sauce pan, add the oxtail stock and reduce until it is 1/4 of its original volume.
  • In a small dish, add the flour and 1 tbsp of water to make a slurry, add it to the sauce pan
  • Stir the sauce and it should thicken and become nice and velvety. Set aside
  • Season with salt to taste
  • In another pan, heat on medium high and caramelize the onion with a few tbsp of oil
  • Once the onion is caramelized, deglaze the pan with some oxtail stock
  • Add the shredded meat and minced garlic and cook on high heat until all the liquid has been evaporated
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Warm up the pepper on the grill for a nicer presentation
  • Stuff the pepper with the meat and some goat cheese
  • Pour the chili oil onto a plate, and place the stuff pepper in the center.
  • Drizzle the sauce around the plate and garnish with chopped parsley

Be sure to soak up the chili oil with a nice slice of a crusty french baguette and wash it all down with a nice glass of red. Ahh if I close my eyes, I can imagine us being back in Barcelona...

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Goat Cheese

(the wine glass in the back from our trip to barcelona. we saw lots of bars serve their wine in similar glasses and found these at the 1 euro shop. european dollar stores are way better than American ones!)

Oxtail Stock

Ingredients:

Water
2 cups red wine (something dry, like a Merlot)
3lbs oxtail (or substitute with short ribs)
1 large onion
2 stalks of celery
2 carrots
A few sprigs of thyme (de-stemmed)
1 bay leaf

Recipe:

  • In a stock pot add 5 quarts of water and bring to boil
  • While the water boiling, peel and rough chop the vegetables
  • Once the water is boiling, add the oxtail and bring it back to a boil. boil for 5 minutes
  • Remove the oxtail and rinse under cold water to remove meat impurities
  • Rinse and dry the stock pot. Add a few tbsp of oil in the stock pot and sautee the vegetables
  • Add the oxtail, wine, thyme and bay leaf into the stock pot
  • Add enough water to fully submerge the oxtail.
  • Bring the soup back to boil and reduce the heat to a simmer
  • Skim the foam off regularly
  • Simmer for 3 hours or until the meat is falling off the bones
  • Remove the oxtail and strain the soup through a sieve

NOTE: You can make the stock in advanced and freeze the extra.

Chili Oil

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp chili flakes
2 garlic cloves
Salt

Recipe:

  • In a pan, heat the olive oil and chili flakes on medium heat. High heat will cause the oil to smoke and burn
  • Cook the oil until it is nice and golden, about 10 minutes.
  • Cut the garlic crosswise into chips
  • Turn off the heat and add the garlic to the oil. Cooking the garlic from the beginning will cause it to burn and become bitter

Jared also decided to turn this dish into a canape of sorts and layered each item over slices of grilled crusty french bread. Then we drizzled the demi-glace over the shredded oxtail. 'Twas a good dinner. Ok fine, I have to finally admit that it's really good to be married to this guy ;)

Piquillo Peppers and Goat Cheese "canape"