When perusing the world wide web there are two things that you are more than likely to read about today, Bitcoins or unwanted sexual advances. One subject is a controversial item thoroughly debated in offices across the country and the other is something I would know nothing about. The only phallic shaped object men are whipping out at TDM Incorporated is a tail, more specifically an oxtail. Oxtail is one cut of meat that most people may overlook, good news for us the most overlooked forms of beef tend to be the most flavorful.
If you have not already noticed after reading previous blog classics such as Jerk Chicken & Nice Guy Salsa, we are a fan of Caribbean cuisine. If you find yourself in a strange neighborhood where melanin challenged people are few and far between, try some of the stranger meats like beef tongue, tripe or goat. If you prefer to stay in your safe apartment in the part of town where music is played in unmodified cars with windows secured in the upright position, use this recipe and find your beach.
- 2-1/4 lb ox tails
- 4 small turnips, peeled and quartered
- 3 large parsnips, peeled and sliced
- 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped to bite size peices
- 3 shallots, quartered
- 3 large clove of garlic, smashed
- 3 bell peppers, shown above as red/yellow/orange, chopped to bite sized pieces
- 1 jalapeño, chopped the same size as the bellow peppers
- 3-5 habañero peppers (scotch bonnet peppers if you can find them), left whole but if you like it spicy leave a small slit in the side of the pepper
- 1-1/2 cups red wine
- 4-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2-5 sprigs of fresh oregano
- salt & pepper
- water (if needed)
This is different from most stews as half the vegetables are not cooked in the stew but added toward the very end. Roast the root vegetables (parsnips, turnips and carrots) in a 450 °F oven for 15-20 minutes until browned and cooked about halfway tender. Place into an airtight container and leave overnight in the fridge.
In your pot (Dutch oven works great) brown your salted ox tails in a tablespoon of olive oil.
Add all the remaining vegetables into the same pot that the ox tails were browned in.
Brown the vegetable mixture for a few minutes and add in the browned ox tails. Bring the heat up to medium high before adding in the red wine, scrape the pot clean and free of any stuck bits.
Cover and place into a 250 °F oven 6-8 hours. After spending a night in the oven your meat should separate from the bone with very little effort, a single fork will do the trick. After a few hours studying the anatomy of a cow I was shocked to learn none of the tail bones were not connected to knee bones. Most of the bones are so small they were lost in the stew, counting the pieces is good practice, taking lots of photos helps document and find these finger sized tooth busters.
After a night in the oven and a morning of sorting bones like an archaeologist, the vegetables are ready to add. Place back over low heat and cover until everything arrives to the desired temperature. Add water to reach a proper consistency. I added less and less water to the point where this last attempt had zero added liquids.
Some slight deviations taken from other recipes as seen on the internet; butter beans, scallions, allspice berries (pimento seeds) and tomato are all items I tried adding but didn't find necessary to an already complicated mix of items. Also found in various recipes are ingredients like; Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, beef broth/stock, sugar and/or flour were all things I have seen used that I would advise excluding as this is already salty/spicy/low key thick enough on it's own.
Regardless the traditional way to serve this is over a bed of Jasmine rice. Eat carefully this isn't for the faint of heart [insert fire emoji].