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.