It’s official, I can’t deny it. Winter is here and it’s here to stay. I almost believed it wouldn’t come, we had a very wet summer (which uncovered that our basement leaks and we have a nice crack in the foundation). Oh but the fall, the fall was perfectly warm, kind of balmy actually. We made it through September, October and most of November without needing anything more than a light weight cover up to keep us warm. I started to believe that global warmer had finally hit Montana. Any thoughts of a mild winter were shattered, demolished, frozen from my mind. It has snowed every day this week and our lovely temps are in the single digits, at nights sometimes we don’t even make a digit if you can consider zero as non-existent. It’s so not going away, so much so, that I actually paid $17.99 for salt. I’m not talking about Fleur de Sel, Amabito No Moshio, black, grey or SaltySeattle salt. I’m talking about de-icer type salt, so I can walk to my car without having to strap on a pair of ice skates.
One thing that winter does for me, it puts me in the mood for warm comforting food. Suddenly soups and casseroles and crock pot meals are turning out of my kitchen faster than I can eat them and more than my freezer can hold. Soups and stews are always a favorite of mine. Perhaps because my mother made them frequently. Not so much to be warm and comforting, but mostly a way to use up leftovers and stretch a dime. My mom was always pinching a penny when she could, she would buy products that other people would turn their noses up at. No demand = cheaper to buy. One of the items that she liked to pick up were oxtails. Back in the day these guys were cheaper than burger! Sure everybody likes to get a little tail, but mention ox and they steer clear, get it…steer clear. Maybe I should change my tag line to the ramblings of a girl who uses bad puns?
Times have changed and so has attitude about food. Somehow oxtails became popular, haute cuisine even. Popularity = more expensive. Needless to say, I was absolutely delighted when I saw a reduced sticker on a package of oxtails. A lover of deals and $17.99 poorer, $4.51 for 3lbs of oxtail couldn’t have made me happier. The cold weather got me yearning for some soup and oxtail soup would fit the bill nicely. There was no secret family recipe for good oxtail soup, matter of fact I’ve actually never made it myself. After searching the internet for awhile I settled on the version from Simply Recipes. It seemed to be the one that mostly resembled what I grew up eating other then calling it stew instead of soup.
I made a few modifications, based on what I had on hand and taste preference. Other than some minor changes, I stuck fairly close to the recipe. I started off by patting the oxtails dry and then adding salt and pepper.
I browned these beauties up in a little bit of olive oil.
I chopped up some carrots and leeks. I substituted the leeks for onions because my poor leeks were about to give up the last of their life. The oxtail went off to drain on some paper towels and and I cooked the carrots and leeks until the leeks were tender.
At this point I veered from the recipe a bit by adding my broth and wine to the carrots and leeks to deglaze the pot.
The oxtail went back into the pot with the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Simmer for 3 hours.
Meanwhile, dice and roast the rest of your veg.
I used only one parsnip, because I might have possibly purchased the world’s largest parsnips.
I used rutabagas in lieu of turnips because my Baby boy doesn’t really care for turnips.
The Baby boy took on look at my cutting board and thought, yum, Gouda and Monterey Jack.
He ended up being disappointed.
Roast for 1 hour at 350.
Add the roasted veg to the oxtail soup and serve immediately.
What to do with the leftover bone/cartilage?
Somedoggy else loves oxtail!
Get the original here.
We serve the oxtails with the bone-in, though if you want you can easily remove the bones from the meat before serving.
- 3 lbs oxtails with separated joints
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, 2 leeks, white part only, chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 2 cups stock broth (chicken or beef)*
- 2 cups of red wine
- 3 whole cloves garlic, peel still on
- One bay leaf
- Pinch of thyme
- 2 carrots, cut into 1-inch segments, large pieces also cut lengthwise
- 2 1 ginormous parsnips, cut into 1-inch segments, large pieces also cut lengthwise
- 2 turnips rutabagas, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
*If cooking gluten-free use homemade stock or gluten-free packaged stock.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pat dry oxtails with paper towels. Sprinkle oxtails all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium to medium high heat in a 6-quart Dutch oven. Working in batches, and not crowding the pan, sear the oxtails in hot pan on all sides until golden brown. Use tongs to remove oxtails to a plate, setting aside.
2 Add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until onions are translucent. Add stock and wine to deglaze the pan. Add the oxtails back to the pan. Add the whole garlic cloves, the stock and wine. Add bay leaf, thyme, and half a teaspoon of salt. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 3 hours, until meat is fork tender.
3 One hour before the meat is done, heat oven on 350°F. Toss carrots, parsnips, and turnips in olive oil in a roasting pan. Sprinkle well with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables for 1 hour, or until lightly browned and cooked through.
4 When meat is tender, remove oxtails from the cooking liquid. Either skim the fat off the top with a spoon, use a fat separator to remove the fat, or chill the cooking liquid for several hours so that the fat solidifies, making it easier to remove. If you are making ahead, at this point you can just put the stew in the refrigerator (let come to room temp first), with the oxtails still in it, and let it chill over night. The next day, scrape off the fat, reheat and then remove the meat from the dish.
5 Pour the cooking liquid through a mesh strainer into a bowl, using a rubber spatula to press against the vegetable solids caught in the strainer. Discard the solids. Return the liquid to the pan and simmer until reduced by half. Then add back in the oxtails, and add the roasted vegetables to the pan. Heat on low heat for half an hour for the flavors to meld. Add some chopped parsley before serving.