Monday, February 11, 2013

Oxtail Stew

When I was in 1st grade and learning about the food groups, we were asked to create a poster showing our favorite and least favorite foods. Like most of my classmates, under favorites I listed pizza and pasta. But while most kids listed broccoli and brussel sprouts under their dislikes, I drew a picture of an oxtail. My mother was mortified.
The truth is, I only remember her making oxtail stew that one time. However, as I got older, I re-discovered this cut and fell in love with its melt-in-your mouth tenderness. My brother and I have both played around with this classic recipe that can also be used with short ribs or brisket.


3 lbs oxtails
2 tbsp olive oil
3 carrots, peeled, 1 chopped & 2 cut into chunks
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cups beef broth
2 cups red wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole but crushed
1-2 potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
2 parsnips, peeled, cut into chunks

Heat oil in a dutch oven, season the oxtails with salt and pepper and sear in batches on all sides. Put aside.

Add the chopped vegetables to the pot and saute until just beginning to brown.

Add the wine and deglaze the pan by stirring and scraping up any of  the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the oxtails back to the pot along with the broth, tomato paste and garlic. Cover and simmer for an hour.

Next add the carrot, potato and parsnip chunks and continue to simmer for 2 more hours.

The stew is done when the vegetables are tender and the meat is falling off the bone.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chinese String Beans

When my younger sister became a vegetarian in her early teens, my mother was challenged to add new vegetable recipes to the family collection. She found this one (not sure where) and it became an immediate hit, especially for my sister, who deemed raw or plain string beans "too furry".
These remind me of the string beans you would get at a Chinese restaurant or that we always get when we go to Dim Sum. These are slightly healthier as those are essentially deep fried in a wok and these are sauteed. These are also more savory/sweet due to the caramelization of the garlic and onions.
1 lb green beans
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sherry
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 scallions, sliced
Combine soy sauce, sherry and sugar and put aside.
Add beans to a pot with enough water to cover. Bring just to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and put aside.
Melt the butter in the oil in a medium frying pan.
Add the garlic and scallions. Stir fry until just beginning to brown.

Add the beans and toss to coat.
Add the soy sauce mixture and stir fry until the beans are browned.
Great served over rice and garnished with scallions.