Recipe by Amy White | Photo by Sergio Salvador
There are many recipes for oxtail stew, but it’s basically about tough, flavorful cuts of meat on the bone becoming perfectly tender after a long braise. You could use beef, pork, or lamb from any of several local farms – see the Downtown Growers’ Market website for a listing.
Try red wine, dry hard apple cider, or non-alcoholic cider for the braising liquid – each gives the stew a different character. Beef and red wine are a great winter combination. Lamb and turnips are another classic pairing, available year-round but especially associated with spring.
Large fall turnips, such as the purple-topped variety usually found in grocery stores, are some of the longest-keeping vegetables that would have sustained our ancestors well into spring. They can be bitter, but blanching them for a few minutes helps. Spring turnips are delicate, sweet, and small, so they can be used whole in this recipe. You can also throw in the turnip greens. If you don’t have turnips… try parsnips, rutabagas, or potatoes.
OXTAIL STEW WITH TURNIPS
- 2 pounds oxtails or any other kind of stew meat and/or soup bones
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1 can 14.5oz diced tomatoes (optional)
- 2 large carrots or parsnips cut into about 1-inch pieces
- 1 lb. turnips rutabagas, or potatoes, cut into about 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups dry red wine hard cider, or apple juice 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (or any other vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or any other vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 6 whole cloves optional
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon thyme or marjoram
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Water Heat oven to 400F, and roast oxtails until browned, about 30 minutes. Heat oil in a large pot over medium flame. Add onions and carrots. Cook until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and cook until they deepen in color and smell sweet, just a few minutes. Add oxtails and all remaining ingredients with just enough water to cover (if using potatoes, add them near the end of cooking time so they don’t get mushy).
- Put the lid on and let it simmer over very low heat until meat is nearly falling off the bone, about 2 to 3 hours. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more honey or vinegar if desired. There may be a lot of fat from the oxtails, so skim off as much as you can, or refrigerate overnight and remove the fat once it's solidified. Serve with crusty bread to sop up the delicious sauce.
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