Rice bowl with braised oxtail and mole rojo

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 8 people

"I visited the MONA Market in April and the Rough Rice stand was throwing together some awesome rice bowls. Would they be happy to share a recipe?"
Tanya McDonald, Hobart, Tas

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  • 2 tbsp chilli oil
  • 2 oxtails (about 1.2kg)
  • 400 gm canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 375 ml pale ale
  • 2 onions, unpeeled, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • To serve: coriander and toasted black and white sesame seeds and lime cheeks
  •  
  • Salsa picante
  • ½ tsp each allspice, coriander seeds and cumin seeds
  • 6 red serrano chillies (or another small red chilli)
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 15 gm (3cm piece) ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 1½ tbsp chilli oil
  • 1½ tbsp white vinegar
  • ½ tsp raw caster sugar
  •  
  • Mole rojo
  • 2 onions, unpeeled, halved
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) chilli oil
  • 2 dried guajillo chillies (see note)
  • 1 each dried habanero, mulato and chipotle chilli (see note)
  • 4 dried hibiscus flowers (see note)
  • 6 coriander roots, leaves reserved for garnish
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp each cumin seeds, coriander seeds and ground allspice, toasted for 2 minutes
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 800 gm canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 50 gm each walnuts and almonds
  • 50 gm day-old sourdough bread, crusts discarded, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 20 gm dark chocolate (60%-66% cocoa solids), finely chopped
  • 1 bunch cavolo nero: 3 leaves reserved for rice, remainder coarsely chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  •  
  • Rough rice
  • 75 gm (½ cup) each pepitas and sunflower seeds
  • 500 gm brown rice
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
01   For braised oxtail, heat chilli oil in a casserole over medium-high heat, add oxtail and cook, turning, until golden brown all over (5-6 minutes). Add tomato, ale, onion, garlic peppercorns, rosemary and enough water to just cover oxtail. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, skimming surface occasionally and adding more water if needed, until meat is falling from the bone (2½-3 hours). Strain, reserving stock for mole rojo, shred meat (discard bones and other solids) and set aside until required.
02   Meanwhile, for salsa picante, dry-roast spices until fragrant (30-45 seconds), then grind with a mortar and pestle. Combine with remaining ingredients in a food processor and process to a smooth purée. Transfer to a saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant (5-7 minutes). Return to food processor, add 40ml water and process to a smooth paste. Salsa picante will keep stored in an airtight container for a week.
03   For mole rojo, preheat oven to 180C and line an oven tray with baking paper. Drizzle onion and garlic with 1 tbsp chilli oil, place on prepared tray and roast until tender (25-30 minutes). When cool enough to handle, peel and set aside. Meanwhile, place dried chillies and hibiscus flowers in a bowl, cover with boiling water and stand until softened (10-15 minutes), then strain, reserving water. Wearing gloves, carefully remove and discard chilli seeds and membranes. Process softened chilli and hibiscus flowers, roasted onion and garlic, coriander roots and spices (except cinnamon quill) in a food processor to a purée and season to taste. Heat 1 tbsp chilli oil in a large casserole over medium heat, add paste and stir constantly until fragrant and thick (6-7 minutes). Add tomato and cinnamon quill, reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened (15-18 minutes). Meanwhile, heat remaining chilli oil in a frying pan over high heat, add nuts, bread and a pinch of salt and fry until toasted (4-6 minutes). Drain on paper towels, place in a food processor and process to a paste, adding a reserved chilli-hibiscus water to loosen, then add to tomato mixture. Remove cinnamon quill, add chocolate, remaining reserved chilli-hibiscus water and reserved oxtail stock and bring to the simmer over medium heat. Purée with a hand-held blender and stir in cavolo nero, lime juice and reserved oxtail.
04   For rough rice, heat a frying pan over medium-high heat, toast pepitas and sunflower seeds until golden brown (2-4 minutes) and set aside. In a saucepan, bring 3 litres of water to the boil, add rice, bring back to the boil and cook rice, stirring occasionally, until tender (25-35 minutes). Strain, transfer to a large bowl, stir in spring onion and cavolo nero and season to taste. Spoon into serving bowls, top with mole rojo, scatter with coriander and toasted sesame seeds, and serve with salsa picante and lime cheeks.

Note Rough Rice uses kangaroo tail and makes its own chilli oil; we've used oxtail and bought the oil. Guajillo, habanero, mulato and chipotle chillies are available at Mexican grocers, herbies.com.au and fireworksfoods.com.au. Hibiscus flowers, also called Jamaica flowers, are available at Fireworks Foods and Fiji Market.

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