Saturday, March 01, 2014

Snowstorm Food

     Three-Day Oxtail Stew:
     You take a nice meaty oxtail, some (a pound) stew beef and a scant handful of some kind of spicy meat (country sausage, this time).  Brown the sausage and set it aside to drain, leaving a little grease in the stew-pan.  Salt and pepper the oxtail ahead of time and brown it next. Remove (to prevent overcooking), brown the beef, add the oxtail and sausage back in, cover the stew beef with water and go away for 45 minutes or longer.  (You can sneak back in and turn the oxtail a few times if you'd like.)

     At the end of that time, start adding veggies and broth or stock.  Keep the stock level high enough to cover everything and adjust depending on how much broth you want. I started with a turnip and followed with a golden beet, both chopped into 3/8" cubes.  (You can go bigger.  Depends on how long you plan to simmer).  After a few minutes, I followed them with a large potato, in half-inch cubes and a huge leek, diced.  Then chopped carrot -- a third went right in, 2/3 waited until I had sauteed a package of mushrooms and added them to the pot, then sauteed the rest of the carrots and in they went.  Also getting the saute and add treatment, in turn, three stalks of celery, a half-dozen sliced grape tomatoes, half a large red sweet pepper and all of a poblano.  This took sufficient time that everything was pretty well cooked by the time the poblano got into the pot, so I let it simmer just a little while fished out the oxtail, got out bowls while it cooled, a trimmed off as much meat as I could and added it back to the stew (and the remains of the oxtail, plenty more goodness to cook out).  Look out for occasional little bits of bone in the oxtail meat, which are sometimes left after the butcher has divided it.

     Serve in small bowls, with crisp bread and perhaps a small glass of red wine.  Garnish with raw veggies if desired. That's Day One.  Leftover stew gets refrigerated.

     Day Two, you skim off the congealed fat (there will a bit -- that's why you had a small bowl yesterday and the red wine, too) take a look at how much is left and add something if needed -- a can of mixed beans, or diced/crushed tomatoes, a red onion, whatever  -- heat and enjoy.  Leftovers go in the fridge again, and you make a last try at the oxtail -- there's a lot of meat on them but it has to be winkled out. The bone is likely cooked out by now, and can depart.

     Day Three, the same, and by now there may be so little left you might want a grilled cheese or peanut butter sandwich on the side.

     You can go in other directions; the broth can be thickened with flour, cornstarch or arrowroot ($$!), though I find the turnip cooks down nicely for that purpose, you can serve it in bread bowls, you can push the second- or third-day in a chili-ish direction (very good) and so on.   You could even serve it over rice.

     It's good warmth and energy when the snow has to be shoveled -- I cook it the night before and it's a quick trip from fridge to stove to table.


Gewehr98 said...

Where's the "like" button on this one? I looked at a bunch of oxtail meat at my favorite butcher today and wondered what I would do with it...

Keads said...

Very nice!