Tuesday, October 26, 2010
"Have you ever had oxtails? Most people I know haven't even heard of them, which is really quite a shame. Think braised beef short ribs, but with even more flavor, and you'll get a sense of why those of us who eat oxtail get dreamy eyed when we think about them. Yes oxtails come from a steer's tail, a well exercised muscle, marbled with fat. The segments are vertebrae so they have lots of iron-rich marrow as well. My father, who grew up during the Depression, remembers oxtails as being food for people with little money, because they could be had so cheap. You could get them for pennies a pound. These days, they're somewhat hard to come by and no longer cheap (though you can sometimes get a good deal on them at Costco and Asian markets). As with most tough cuts, oxtail are best slow cooked for several hours. They tend to be fatty, so we like to cook them a day ahead, so we can chill them overnight and scrape off the fat from the top the next day." - Simply Recipes
The above is an excerpt from Simply Recipes' Oxtail Stew recipe. It's a little similar to the one in this recipe, and I thought it was a good introduction to oxtails if you've never heard of them. I decided that I wanted to have some of my mom's cooking, so I called her up for her oxtail stew, which is one of her staple recipes. While I was on the phone with her she told me how Gandalf likes to sleep with her, aw! And Gandalf stole my mom's fish while she was cooking, and my mom had to chase her around the house to get it back. My sister says Gandalf also stole her chicken. In case you forgot who Gandalf is, she's this little kitty cat. Anyways, less cats more food!
2 pounds Oxtail
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon Brandy
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ginger
1 cup carrots
1 cup potatoes
1 cup celery
1. Bring water to a boil and drop oxtails in for a minute. Take the oxtails out and rinse with cold water and clean the clotted blood off. This is to release the blood.
2. In a hot frying pan, add oil and brown the oxtails.
3. Bring water to a boil again. Do not add salt yet.
4. Add one tablespoon of high quality wine for every 2lb of oxtail.
5. When water is at a boil, drop the browned oxtail in and simmer on low heat for 1.5 hrs or until tender
6. Add salt, ginger, garlic, shallot, and black pepper
7. Add in carrots
8. Drop in potatoes 10 minutes after carrots
9. Coat celery in a little bit of oil and drop into the stew 15 minutes after the potatoes. The oil prevents the celery from turning yellow.
I didn't trim the oxtails before cooking, but I would highly suggest that. These oxtails are super fatty. Seriously. Also, I would recommend letting the soup stock chill (without the oxtails or vegetables) for a couple of hours until the fat congeals over and then scoop it out. You would be surprised what a thick layer it is!