A comfort food that is great in the cold months is Oxtail Stew. This is a dinner that screams comfort like a toasty favorite cozy coat or a warm fire.
The little ox tails may look funny, but the meat is so tender and yummy. Cooking with crockpots and with meats like this is so forgiving. The choices of ingredients are basically whatever you have in your refrigerator. Some people use beans; I have seen eggplant, and potatoes. I usually do not use these, but your options are not limited. Also, if you do not have enough oxtails to cook an entire meal, you can add a mixture of meat like a pot-roast cut into pieces to this recipe.
- Beef oxtail
- White flour
- Freshly ground Black pepper
- Butter or olive oil
- Favorite vegetables like: (sliced carrots, celery, cabbage, onions, leeks, green beans, tomatoes, bok choy, mushrooms, parsnips, turnips or you can use frozen bags of a mixture of vegetables.)
- Red wine
- Chicken or Vegetable stock (canned or in a resealable container by the soups).
- Savory herbs (like 3 smashed garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, thyme, sage)
1. Sprinkle white flour on both sides of the oxtail. Shake off excess. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and a pinch of ground black pepper on each side of the oxtail. Set aside.
2. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter for each oxtail in the frying pan. Place oxtails in frying pan. Brown on one side. Turn oxtails over with tongs and brown on the other side. Remove pan from heat.
3. Place browned oxtails in a single layer on the bottom of the crock pot or a heavy baking pan.
4. Add 1/2 cup per oxtail of your favorite vegetables. Do not stir.
5. Add 1/2 tsp. of fresh herbs per oxtail of your favorite savory herbs (I use 1/2 tsp of thyme, 1/2 tsp of sage of fresh herbs from my garden. (If using dry herbs which are more potent, then cut the amount by one third: One teaspoon to One Tablespoon bc there are 3 Tsp in one Tbl); to the whole pot: a total of 3 garlic cloves, and 2 bayleaves--remove bayleaves before eating). Pour 1/2 cup per oxtail of red wine over the ingredients (about 2 C’s for 3 lbs. of oxtails). Add enough chicken or vegetable stock to barely cover the oxtails and vegetables (about 2 C’s for 3 lbs.).
Crock Pot Slow-Cooker Method
6. Place lid on cooker. Turn on "Low" for 8 hours.
7. Turn off cooker. Allow to sit for 1/2 hour. Separate the liquid from the solids and use a fat separator to remove the fat, or chill the cooking liquid for several hours so that the fat solidifies, making it easy to remove. If you are making ahead, at this point you can just put the stew in the refrigerator (let come to room temperature first), with the oxtails still in it, and let it chill overnight. The next day, scrape off the fat, reheat and then remove the meat from the dish.
8. I pour the remaining liquid and vegetables through a strainer. This liquid is great stock! I prefer to throw away these overcooked tasteless vegetables away (however some cooks skip this next part of cooking new vegetables and keep these). I sauté’ all the desired new vegetables in the pan the meat was browned in. The juice and oil from the meat is very tasty. Once the onions are translucent (a few min’s), I add enough of the reserved stock to cover the vegetables, cover w lid until carrots, or turnips can be pierced w a fork). Add vegetables to the meat. You can pour the remaining stock in w the dish, or serve in a gravy boat, so your family can add as much broth as they like.
9. If any of your vegetables of choice are leafy greens like: kale, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, spinach or broccoli, you want them to be bright green, so throw in right before serving to not overcook them.
10. Remove from crock pot slow-cooker and serve with corn bread.*Note a short cut to a fast meal in a bind: throw all your ingredients in a crockpot, meat on bottom, put on lid, turn on low, leave for the day and come home to a meal. This is not as delishious as the above, but it is a quick fix. ;o)