RECIPE: Oxtail, Popcorn, Pyengana Cheddar, Pickles, Lime

2018 Finalist Rhys Connell created this delicious canape for the 2018 Appetite for Excellence Awards Evening

7kg Oxtail
5 x Carrots
4 x Stalks of Celery
2 x Heads of Garlic
1 x Bunch of Thyme
5 x Fresh Bay leaves
15g Back Peppercorns
4 x Star anise
8 x pieces of Clove
2 x Sticks of 15cm Kombu
750g Madeira
800g Soy
500g Mirin
250g Shrio Dashi
10 x Ears of Corn
8 x Limes
8g Kuzu Starch
6 x leaves of Gold Gelatin
200g Butter
3 x Jars of McClure’s Spicy whole pickles
1.2 kg Pyengana Cheddar Cheese
1.2 kg Popcorn
1.2 kg Rye Crumbs
800g Cornstarch
400g Finley ground Polenta

For the Oxtail

Coat Oxtail in ground white pepper, and using a little oil, brown in a large stockpot in batches. Once completed, tip excess oil out of pan and wipe, deglaze the pot with Madeira but don’t reduce. Add to the pot the oxtail along with 10L of water, Peeled whole carrots, whole celery, halved garlic, peppercorns, star anise, cloves, kombu thyme and bay leaves, soy, mirin and shiro dashi. If the liquid does not cover the oxtail, top up with water. Braise until tender and meat is falling off the bone around 4 hours. Once cool enough to the touch pick meat from bones making sure to separate the cartilage and small bones in the process. Run a knife through the meat to cop finely. In a large mixing bowl, mix meat and about a cup of the braising liquid together and using your hands mush meat up making a firm mix. Place enough meat mix into a cryovac bags and press flat to make a sheet of meat mix about 75mm high. Sous-vide and seal. Using a rolling pin, roll bags evenly and flat. Chill mix for around an hour. You will need to keep the mix cold while you work from here. Cut mix out of bags but keep in flat sheets. Cut fingers 800mm in length x 75mm x 75mm of the cold oxtail mix and freeze on a tray.


For Corn and Lime

Cut the Kernels from the corn and blend to make a corn juice, pass through muslin cloth for a fine bright yellow juice. Soak gelatin leaves and hydrate kuzu Starch. Place the corn juice in a pan and gently heat while stirring with a spatula, watch as the juice begins to thicken and stop from catching on the bottom of the pan, when you have the texture of thick cream, mount the butter into the corn puree, add kuzu starch and cook for a further 2 minutes while still stirring. To finish add in gelatin and mix till melted. Cool over ice bath. Once cool whisk to a smooth puree and pass to remove any lumps, season with lime zest, and salt. Add just a little limejuice, to have a sauce similar in texture and flavor as aioli.


Popcorn Crumb

Cut the crust off of the rye bread and slice thinly, dry in a dehydrator overnight. Once dry, blend to a fine crumb. Blend the popcorn to a similar texture. Reserve


To Crumb Oxtail

Make a slurry of cornstarch and finely ground polenta, crumb fingers of oxtail in popcorn crumbs.


Deep fry Fingers of Oxtail in oil at 180c until crisp and brown, making sure the meat is warm in the center.

Pipe corn mix on top of the fingers and place a little of the finely dice pickles on top, shave Pynegana Cheddar over the top and serve.

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