Tam called from the grocer's: "They've got oxtail! Shall I get us some?"
"Sure. Get some vegetables, too."
"I will. And steak tips. Maybe some sausage...."
The way this works is, Tamara buys whatever appeals to her, and I turn it into a meal. We already had canned tomatoes and some beef stock, which, with the oxtail itself, are the essential ingredients. Whatever else you add is an additional layer of flavor and texture.
Tam arrived with a couple of nice, meaty sections of oxtail, a bag of steak tips, and a decent amount of bulk (uncased) sweet Italian sausage. Her vegetable choices were turnips, white onions and Polano peppers, with a nice-looking contianer of oyster mushrooms for goods measure.
I looked at this collection and thought about it. Turnips can be a challenge; they take a bit of cooking and can be a little bland, though they lend a certain underpinning to the broth (similar to the effect of cabbage) essential to really good flavor. I peeled and cubed them, added sat, pepper, marjoram and garlic and started them over low-medium heat. After they were a bit cooked, I added the sausage and a teaspoon or so of rosemary, covered and let it all cook down, opening the pot occasionally to turn and break up the sausage. Once it was well-browned, put all of that in a bowl and put the bowl in the oven to stay warm over the pilot light.
Browned the oxtail on all sides in the sausage/turnip grease (drained more from the bowl), and once it was well underway, I added the streak tips, and pulled out each oxtail in turn, letting it cool and removing as much meat as possible. I diced a big onion and added that, covering the whole thing. While that cooked, I cycled the oxtail through several cook/remove meat cycles. (If you have more time, you can just let it simmer until the meat falls off, though it nearly always takes a little scissor-and-knife work to get it all.) Added the mushrooms once the beef tips were mostly cooked, then diced up a huge Poblano and added it. Pulled out the oxtails and cleared them more while sauteing the peppers and mushrooms. Once the Poblano was brightened up, I added the sausage and turnip, a cup or so of beef stock and a can of diced tomatoes, stirred it all up, covered and let it simmer for fifteen minutes.
After that, it was time to fill up the bowls. I tasted a spoonful of the broth and was very happy; Tam showed up, took a taste and kind of murmured in joy, "Yum!"
Yeah, that worked out. Cooking the sausage and turnips together first is a winning strategy: the turnip cooked all the way through and is flavorful. The broth was silky and rich. Photos later, if the household photographer sends them to me.
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