Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Ox-Tail: What's It Good For After The Ox Is Gone?

     By golly, it works right well in beef stew.

      I stopped off at the market on the way home, thinking "beef stew."  I had a little red cabbage left, and this and that; I picked up a pound of stew beef and, on impulse, a big ol' hunk of ox tail, about 3" x 4" x 2" with a nice bit of bone or suchlike through the middle.

     Browned all the meat in a dab of olive oil with some "Montreal Steakhouse" blend -- pretty much just salt, pepper and garlic -- and as it was getting well-browned, I added a chopped-up red onion and a handful of carrots; cooked that a while and added a little red cabbage.  I kept worrying at the ox tail with kitchen shears, brown it, flip it over and snip some meat off, and as soon as the onion went translucent, I poured water and some mild beef stock stock over the whole thing, added a large, cut-up potato and a package of fresh mushrooms, covered it and went after some more needs-used-up from the fridge: two nice ears of sweet corn.  I just cleaned them and hacked them into 2" lengths like you'd do for a crab boil (et-boiled-dinner-cetera) and popped 'em in the pot.

     Set the timer for twenty minutes and went to do other tasks.  By the time it beeped, the stew was smelling pretty good but it needed something.  I had a can of crushed tomatoes nearing expiration, and another of kidney beans, so in they went for twenty minutes more.

     Came back to a deep red-brown assemblage that smelled wonderful.  I further stripped meat from the ox tail and ladled out a couple of bowls, sliced Tam's corn off the cob (she's not a fan, after the stuff cost her a tooth she rather liked), salted and peppered to taste.

     Mmm, goooooood.

     I saved the leftovers.  We'll be having more of this tomorrow night.  My only regret is I ran out of storage containers with a half-cup of broth left over.

     And if you see an ox tail sectioned in the butcher's case?  Give it a try.  It's full of flavor!


Jeffro said...

Oh yeah, ox tail is great for soups and stews - great flavor!

Have you ever tried hog jowl?

Bob said...

Braised oxtail is a Spanish specialty, associated particularly with the city of Cordoba. Your recipe seems to be similar to rabo de toro recipes that are available online. It's good stuff!

Roberta X said...

I'll be darned, Bob! It's darned close, isn't it? A little red wine would've been nice to add after browning the meat. And I see my instinct that ox tail takes a heap of cooking was correct; trimming it and snipping the meat into small pieces while cooking helped but more time would have been even better.

The slow-cooked version is on my weekend meals list.

Jeffro: Haven't tried hog jowl yet but some day I will. Depends on what shows up at the meat counter. :)