Oxtails

Recipe: Oxtail and Vegetable Soup

I love soup, and you should too. It is so satisfying, and there is a reason for that. It contains so much in the way of nutrients. The body knows when it is getting everything it needs in one bowl. And it only gets better when accompanied by a warm, buttery piece of bread.

There are other reasons to recommend soup as a regular entree in your kitchen and on your table. It is a place to put your leftovers. Leftovers that are on the cusp are rehabilitated in soup. That’s a much better solution than what you will do with them if left to deteriorate in your fridge. 
Soups allow you to experiment with and hone your cooking skills. Who knew that turnips will turn from bitter to sweet when combined with carrots and celery in a mirepoix? Only the soup masters.

You don’t have to anguish over a recipe book which constantly reminds you of exact measurements with your spoons and cups. Soup allows you to be an artist rather than a technician. Whoo hoo!

Here are the basic steps: make a mirepoix, find some bony meat item (or just use ground meat), add some vegetables, add some stock. Let it simmer a while. Eat and be merry. Here’s a recent example:

Oxtail & Vegetable Soup

Make a mirepoix with celery, onion, carrot, turnip and garlic. Season this stage and all later ones by adding salt and pepper at each stage to your raw ingredients. It’s much easier to get your seasonings right when you season one step at a time. When it looks right to you, it is right.

As the mirepoix ingredients begin to soften, add oxtail.
When the oxtail is brown and the mirepoix is fully cooked down, even getting a little crusty itself, add some tomato paste and stir it in, then add beef broth, potatoes, carrots, purple hull peas and allow to simmer until the vegetables are soft. Then add sliced cabbage until the cabbage is soft.

Honi and I enjoyed 3 delicious meals with just these ingredients. The only item purchased was 2 quarts of beef stock as we had run out of our own. We paid $3.98 for HEB Organic. Everything else was on hand.

 

Recipe: Gina's Oxtail Stew

From the simple to the exotic, Neener Smith, an oxtail devotee, brings us this kitchen-tested oxtail recipe from a friend:

Gina's Oxtail Stew

Recipe courtesy of The Neelys
Cook Time: 4 hr 15 m
Level: Easy
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds meaty oxtails
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into half moons, about 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into1|4-inch thick pieces
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 can (15-ounce) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Buttered Noodles

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry the oxtails. Add the meat to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss the meat in the flour until lightly coated. Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Brown the oxtails on all sides, in batches, until well browned. Transfer the meat to a plate and pour off some of the drippings, if necessary.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, thyme, and garlic to the potatoes and sauté until the onions are tender and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Stir in the tomato paste and toast. Deglaze the pot with the bottle of red wine and stir up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Stir in the beef broth, tomatoes with their juices and the bay leaves.  Add the browned beef back into the pot along with any accumulated juices that may have collected on the plate. Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook until the beef is tender and falling off the bone, about 3 ½ hours.  Stir in the mushrooms and cook uncovered for 30 minutes more.  Taste for seasoning add salt and pepper, if needed, and stir in the red wine vinegar to brighten the flavor. Remove the meat from the pot and pull the meat off the bones, then add back to the pot. Discard the bones. Transfer the stew to a serving dish and serve hot over Buttered Noodles.  bowl and serve.