Calm down, I’m not going to burden you with the darkness of the tragic drama by the same name, if you haven’t read it yet, then good! I advise you not to, coz this one is much more light-hearted and a fun way to spend a few extra minutes in your life. By the way I’m not trying to be a smartass (coz it doesn’t require trying in my case) or ego-maniac (even though I’m inclined that way sometimes)…
This post is literally and simply about animal’s bones (well…not technically pure bones, but rather bones and the meat that is attached to them.)…….I know what you are thinking now…no no no… this is not about animal anatomy either… I can see you shaking your head now, going ‘What the hell is this crazy woman talking about?! SO…what’s with the bones then?’
It’s a “tail” of irresistible delicacy.
Being Chinese, and even worse, a Chinese foodie, I have learnt to appreciate a few delicacies – eg. chicken claws, shark fin (Don’t get me wrong, I am totally against it!!), pig trotters, beef tongues, even brains. Over my formative years I havelearnt that the meats around the bones are the most juicy and sweetest part of the animal. You can roll your eyes as much as you want… I believe filet mignon or rib eye steaks, like chicken-breast, are tasteless meat marketed to the snobbery (but I’ll be honest, they can be superbly palatable when perfectly cooked, seasoned and served with flavoursome sauce). But for me I’d rather order pork/beef ribs, occasionally a T-bone steak, at a steak house or grill bar.
But, let’s return to the real “tail”of this post….Oxtail is a relevantly new item on my comfort food repertoire (only pig’s tails get to be predominant in China). Its “bony”, tough meat needs slow cooking like braising or stewing to break down its connective tissues and muscle fibres. This extended period of gentle heat transforms this toughie into little parcels of tender, juicy, gelatine-rich meat around the bone, soaked in the gravy-like reduction of spices, herbs, red wine, stock and whatever you put in to suit your taste. Hmm… The result is – a divinely warm and satisfying meal that surely fend off the chill of a cold day…and I suggest ladies (maybe gents too) to enjoy it at home in private if you have an image to upkeep, because if you are like me (and trust me I’m very demure and lady-like…at times…), you won’t be able to resist the temptation of picking it up with your hands and sucking up all the juice while you bite every bit of the succulent meat and tendons off the bone, and chewing it with an orgasmic facial expression (and maybe the sound as well)…. NOT a good-look….
Enough of the talk, let’s get down to it – and make this. see also : Best Korean Pork Bulgogi Recipe
Tantalizing and irresistible oxtail stew
2 kg oxtail
1 bulb garlic,
1 large onion
2 star anises
1 tbsp. whole peppercorns
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tbsp. raw sugar
3-5 dried bay leaves
1 handful of fresh thyme, sage
1 twig of rosemary
half bottle of red wine,
150 ml port
1 litre of beef stock. see also : Beef Tangine with Butternut Squash Stew
1 can of diced tomatos
2 tbsp. of tomato paste
2 medium potatoes
1 bunch asparagus (10-12)
2 ripe tomatoes
250g diced button mushroom
Butter & olive oil for frying
Salt to taste
- Fry the oxtail in a pan with olive oil and butter (the mix of olive oil prevent butter from burning) till brown in a few batches.
- In the other pot (which will be used for the stew), fry the garlic, onion till soft. Then add the browned oxtail, stock, canned tomatoes, red wine, port and all the spices and dry herbs
- Simmer on low heat for 1 hour -1.5 hours
- Add all the veggies except asparagus, cook for another half an hour, till the liquid reduced to sauce consistency
- Serve with parsnip puree (search for the recipe if you don’t know how to make it)