This weekend I decided that I was going to make the ox tails that had been taking up room in my freezer since last summer. I looked a lot of recipes and decided on most of one, and parts of another. I especially like ox tail soup because it requires a lot of tomatoes and I have a lot of tomatoes.
I also decided to make the soup/stew in my crock pot because it requires a lot of time to cook and the crock pot seemed like the best way to do that with the least amount dancing attendance on my part. I want to be involved with the process but I don't want to be the process.
All the recipes insist that it is absolutely necessary to brown the oxtail prior to putting into the soup. This was the first time I really examined my ox tail. It is also the first time I really understood why some of the recipes seemed to ask for what seemed like a lot of oxtail. I learned very quickly it is because there is not a lot of meat on an oxtail. Very little. There are a lot of bones in an oxtail, bones weigh a lot more than meat. Lesson learned - you need more than a pound and half of oxtail for oxtail stew.
Right before lift off. I made mine with beef bouillon, which made me feel cheap and lazy, my tomatoes which made me feel better about myself, and some store bought leaks which I had to clean. So I felt not that bad about them. I also added some crushed garlic and some basil and some port wine per the recipe.
I left it to cook for about ten hours. I removed the oxtail and picked off the meat. I made a note to go to the store and buy some more stew meat to fill in because the handful I ended up with was not going to do it. The meat is really good though and was very tender and flavorful.
I left the soup to cool in the refrigerator over night and removed the fat in the morning - also per the recipe. I thought the soup looked a little lumpy so I ran an immersion blender through it and smoothed it out. I turned my soup into a lovely spread.
Soup I'm fine with, stew I'm fine with spread I am not fine with. I browned and added more meat and another cup of broth and a healthy splash of port and some cooked noodles left the spread to re-heat.
Victory! Liquid! It tastes really, really good! It has a lot in common with any beef stew because it is a beef stew, but there is certain oxtailness to it that makes it a little different. A big score. My next project is going to frog legs.