Saturday, November 17, 2018

Oxtail Stew!

     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.


Carteach said...

Made up my mind after reading this. I'll layer up a beef stew for dinner.

John Peddie (Toronto) said...

True winter comfort food.

For me, today, it's meatloaf-good hot, even better cold in sandwiches.

Ken said...

That sounds...really good. Thanks for sharing it; I'm gonna copy it for reference. When my older boy was younger (but still the older boy), we grew some turnips in the back yard as an experiment. Getting in a "crop" in 35 days is pretty cool, I gotta say. :-)

Roberta X said...

I didn't realize turnips grew so quickly. We may have to try that next year.

pigpen51 said...

I am often surprised by my wife of over 26 years, when she says that she has never tried a certain vegetable or food item. Turnips are one that she has not tried. She has tried parsnips, and didn't like them. For myself, I had never tried Brussel Sprouts, even though I just knew somehow that they would be great, and could be cooked in so many different ways,from roasting to stir frying them.
Another vegetable she doesn't like is rutabaga. While I love it, especially when used as an ingredient for things like meat pies(Pasties), or beefy stews, that have a lot of flavor on their own, since rutabaga is somewhat strong flavored, and can over power a dish, unless you use an appropriate amount. On their own, I like them mashed like potatoes as well as just cut up and boiled. I never tried to roast them but I bet that would be good as well.