My southern roots are showing. Oxtail Stew is one of those southern dishes that most folks up north don’t really know about. Surprisingly, more and more people are coming into the fold and are enjoying oxtails in various recipes. Historically, oxtails were considered a poor man’s dish since it was a cheaper cut of meat. Still, all across the world this cheaper cut of meat was also considered a delicacy. Oxtails were and are used in stews, soups and special sauces. Today, oxtails are no longer a cheap cut of meat. To the contrary. Oxtails are a little more expensive and can be found among the best choice cuts of meat at any grocery store that carries a variety of meats.
Because my mom is both southern and an amateur chef by profession it meant growing up we often had meals that included every part of an animal’s body. I can honestly say my mom can take any animal on the planet and prepare it so that it smells heavenly. I would also say that same animal probably tastes absolutely delicious but I draw the line at eating certain things regardless of how good it smells. Needless to say, the squirrel, rabbit, turtle and sweet bread dishes my mom made did not touch my lips but boy they sure smelled good cooking.
Back to Oxtail Stew. I was talking to my mom about recipes recently and she told me she had made some oxtails. I started thinking of how good her oxtails in onions and gravy were and how much I missed having them. I decided I should try making my own Oxtail Stew for the blog and create a new memory for my family. I was shocked when I got to the grocers and saw the price on the few packages of oxtail I found next to the Delmonico steaks. Since I had committed myself to making an Oxtail Stew I did a Mary Tyler Moore move and rolled my eyes, shook my head and tossed the oxtails into my shopping cart.
Oxtail Stew is one of those meals you eat with two types of utensils. A fork and fingers. You can use the fork to pull pieces of meat off of the bone then pick up the bone and suck all of those delicious juices and those tiny remaining pieces from the bone. For those of you who eat fried chicken with a knife and fork you would not understand what I mean. Just like most of us use our God given fingers to pick up chicken and eat it off the bone you need to do the same with oxtails. If you don’t, you will miss out on some serious flavors and good eating!
2 pkgs of oxtails
2 carrots chopped
2 scallions chopped (including green part)
1 large onion chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
1 bay leaf
1 small can tomato paste
2 cups water
1cup beef stock
4 tbsp frying olive oil or vegetable oil
1 tbsp salt
½ tbsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ginger (ground or fresh minced)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
¼ tsp nutmeg
Season oxtails with all seasonings. Place in a plastic zip lock bag and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown oxtails on all sides then place oxtails in a pressure cooker with ½ of the diced onions and 2 cups of water. Cook oxtails for approximately 45 minutes. Let pressure cooker cool (run cold water over the top of the pressure cooker to cool faster. Check out handling instructions.). Strain beef stock from pressure cooker and reserve 2 cups.
Saute remaining onions, scallions and carrots in the dutch oven over medium heat until slightly softened and onions are translucent. Reduce heat to medium then add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Do not let the garlic burn. Add tomato paste, reserved beef stock and 1 cup of beef stock. Whisk together. Add oxtails and bay leaf. Cover and let simmer for 2 ½ hours stirring occasionally. Add additional salt to taste. Serve with rice.