About this recipe: Based on the Jewish dish, pitcha. This version uses beef oxtails instead of calve's feet. It's a dish that consists of oxtail meat in a cold jelly. It's traditionally served as a cold appetiser.
If calve's feet are available, use these instead of oxtails.
This recipe is extremely good, but needs a few changes. First, don't put meat in a pot with water regardless of what that meat is. You must brown meat and drain the fat or it will be inedible. With the above exceptions, I made the recipe as written the first time. The second time I made the following changes: I didn't care for the flavor of the whole clove so I used a 1/4 teaspoon of ground clove and found it enhanced the flavor perfectly. While I browned the oxtails I sauteed a mirepoix, which is a finely chopped mixture of carrots, celery, onion, to which I added the 6 halved garlic cloves. I also added chopped fresh mushrooms (never canned for this dish!), Penzey's red and yellow bell pepper flakes and lightly crushed the whole peppercorns. It is not acceptable in this dish to just sprinkle it with black pepper. The changes to the flavor are not worth the convenience! Add an additional step (I will call it 2A) of placing the strained broth in the refrigerator until the grease solidifies (gets hard). An hour should be sufficient. Skim all the hardened fat off the top, leaving the strained broth. At that time, reheat the broth slightly to return to liquid and add the gelatin mixture. Why 5 Stars? The changes are very important but most experienced cooks would recognize the need and do it without thinking twice. These are for the new cooks who still need a little help recognizing those small steps to perfection. Good luck and enjoy! - 26 Sep 2012 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)