Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ox Tails

Ox tails used to be common in the butcher shops, and often were the fare of a poor man's dinner despite being very tasty. Think braised beef short ribs but with much more flavor. Today's supermarkets seldom carry ox tails so I was pleased to find some a few days ago in the freezer section of a natural foods market.

As I'm writing this, I have the oxtails browning in a cast iron pot on top of my wood stove. When they are browned all over, I'll add a mirepoix and then some homemade stock and let them simmer.

Oxtails are cut from a steer's tail, which is a muscle, so they need a long, slow cooking for several hours to be tender. Because the segments are vertebrae, they have lots of iron-rich marrow. I like to simmer them several hours (a crock pot is good for this), then chill overnight so I can remove the excess fat.

I haven't decided for sure what I'll make with the braised oxtails, but probably a carrot and barley stew. There are many, many good recipes for oxtails. I'll post tomorrow when I make the final dish.

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