Monday, 20 March 2017

Recipes from Rome - Coda alla Vaccinara

The quintessential taste of Testaccio to us is Coda alla Vaccinara or oxtail stew. This dish, born out of the need to use the 'fifth quarter' of the animal, is named after the vaccinari, men who worked in the slaughterhouses.

Our favourite rendition of this dish is served up by Agustarello on Via Giovanni Branca in Testaccio. To recreate it at home  I turn to Rachel Roddy of course

By and large I stick faithfully to Rachel's list of ingredients but I tweak the recipe slightly as I am using a slow cooker.

The wine I use is a Sicilian red in homage to Rachel's new book, 'Two Kitchens', due out this summer, with recipes from Rome and Sicily.

One of the reasons I prefer Agustarello's coda (pictured at the top of the page) is the addition of chocolate. My secret ingredient for our version is Willie's Cacao

I use this in chilli and over huevos ranchos. A little goes a long way & it lasts for ages.

After frying off the onions I transfer them to the slow cooker before browning off the oxtail.

The wine is added and reduced down to a jammy consistancy, followed by the  tomatoes.

I don't add the 100ml of water as the slow cooking doesn't require as much liquid and there is a fair amount of juice in the tinned tomatoes. I add the grated chocolate and seasoning before transferring to the slow cooker.

8 hours later dinner is served.

The only accompaniment was a crusty ciabatta that we used to mop up the sauce - 'fare la scarpetta'. If we were in Rome we would partner this with a local Cesanese wine, Silene being our favourite.

Next time I would do as Rachel suggests and make this a day ahead, allowing for much easier removal of surplus fat. Also I might experiment with spices - cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg maybe? 
That said, the clean plates testify to the success of this recipe.

As an extra bonus the leftover sauce can be frozen to  serve on another day with pasta or gnocchi.

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