I’m quite fond of fatty meats and root vegetables together. It’s possible that both being winter foods, it becomes a familiar combination. But I’m convinced that it’s more than that. Parsnips, carrots, yams, sweet potato, and more are storage organs for the plant and typically contain more sugars and starches than other vegetables. It just works exceptionally well with fatty meats, standing up to it with more flavor and texture.

I’ve been thinking about parsnips and oxtail for a while, flipping from some kind of ravioli, to a mash, to a terrine, and finally deciding on a Parsnip Gnocchi with a Braised Oxtail Sauce.

Parsnip Gnocchi with Oxtail and flower background

I present it here as two separate recipes because they are wonderful on their own. You can serve the Braised Oxtail over any pasta or rice. You can serve the parsnip gnocchi with any pasta sauce or just sauteed in butter (which I did for my vegetarian guest). If you have time to do the work, and both recipes are work intensive, I strongly recommend it together – a match made in heaven. Well, at least my heaven. Both recipes can be made ahead, even several days ahead, so I’m keeping this one very handy.

Parsnip Gnocchi with Oxtail macro 3

Braised Oxtail
~8 entree or 16 appetizer servings

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or blended oil
  • 4.25 lbs oxtails
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/4 cup brunoised carrots
  • 1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 (2″) cinnamon stick
  • 2 (quarter-sized) slices of ginger
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • chopped chives to garnish, optional

1. Heat oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Brown the oxtails on all sides. (You may have to do it in two batches if the pieces are big.) Remove to a plate.

browning oxtail

2. Turn heat down to medium and add onions and carrots. Stir with a wooden spoon as it browns.

carrots and onions

3. Add tomato sauce and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. When it starts bubbling, return oxtails to the pot and add the rest of the ingredients. Bring back to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook covered for 3 hours, or until meat starts falling off the bone.

Braised Oxtail

4. Remove from heat and allow to cool enough to touch. Pull meat off the bone. Discard bones, ginger, cinnamon, and star anise. Serve garnished with chives, if desired.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (Optional: Save meat and sauce in two separate airtight containers. When the sauce has been chilled, the fat will separate to the top and you can remove it if you want to have less fat. I like the fat though.) This can keep in the fridge for at least 5 days.

oxtail sauce oxtail bones

I ended up having less parsnips than I had hoped for (and no one was selling any in the Union Square Green Market yesterday). The gnocchi are only mildly parsnip flavored but everyone loved them so much I decided to post this. Next time, I might try to up the parsnip though.

Parsnip Gnocchi
~6 entree or 12 appetizer servings

  • 1.5 lbs russet potato, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 8 ounces parsnip, peeled and cut in chunks (a little smaller than potato chunks)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated (on big holes on box grater) Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, + extra for dusting

Instructions -

1. Place potato and parsnip in a medium sized pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, or until fork tender. *Make sure the parsnip is tender because sometimes they can be harder in the center.

2. Drain potatoes and parsnips and run through a ricer or mash with a fork. Cool enough to touch. Form a mound with a well in the center inside a large bowl. Add eggs, Parmesan, salt, nutmeg, and pepper to the center well. Mix together gently with your hands.

3. Sprinkle 1 cup of flour on top. Mix in with your hands, trying to fold and not knead. Sprinkle the remaining cup of flour on in 4 separate additions, mixing in and trying not to knead.

4. Check if dough is ready: If dough is ready you will be able to roll into a long snake (1/2″ to 3/4″ diameter) on a floured board. If it’s too sticky, add more flour. If it’s too dry, add a little bit of beaten egg until you get the right consistency.

5. Using a handful of dough at a time, roll into a snake on a floured surface. Cut into 1/2″ to 3/4″ segments. Sprinkle with flour so they don’t stick. Place finished gnocchi on a sheet pan covered with a sheet of parchment paper and well floured. Repeat until you use up all the dough.

Parsnip Gnocchi

6. If you’re not cooking the gnocchi with the next hour, wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze until use. (This will last for a month in the freezer in an airtight container.) To cook it, bring salted water to a boil. Place gnocchi in the water and cook until it floats to the top. If it’s fresh, give it another minute. If it’s frozen, cook it another 90 seconds. Drain and serve with desired sauce.

Parsnip Gnocchi with Oxtail on wood table 6

posted by jessica at 12:58 PM Filed under Fusion, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.