My brother Joe’s friend Colin lives in a farm. They met in college and were roommates for several years, but Colin has since moved to the country and Joe is back in Omaha.
Living where he does, Colin has the opportunity to acquire some ah, “variety meats” which he was kind enough to distribute to my brother, and which Joe was kind enough to pass along to me. He kept the tongues for himself to make tacos, but I got about 5 pounds of oxtails.
Oxtail stew (based on the recipe for Oxtail, Vaccinara Style, found in Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan.)
0.5 lb bacon or pancetta, cut into small pieces (optional)
0.25 C chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
0.75 C chopped onion
0.75 C chopped carrot
2.5 lb. oxtail, severed at each joint
1.5 C dry white wine (we used vermouth)
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
0.5 C water
Salt & pepper
1.5 C coarsely chopped celery
Put the chopped bacon or pancetta in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven with a lid over medium heat (if not using, warm 0.25 C olive oil). Cook about 10 minutes, until mostly but not fully cooked.
Add the parsley, garlic, onion and carrot and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
Crank the heat to medium-high, add the oxtails, and brown on all sides. Add the wine and let simmer for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and water, and season as desired with salt & pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
Cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and cook for 1.5 hours, stirring every 0.5 hours.
Add the celery to the pot and stir to incorporate. Cook about another hour, or until the meat is very tender and comes easily away from the bones. Skim as much fat as possible off the top of the cooking liquid and serve at once.
Per a suggestion I got on Twitter, we served our oxtail stew over soft polenta.
And it was GOOD.
This has been a very meaty week on Jeanne Cooks World, hasn’t it? Tis the season for big, hearty stews.