Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Tale of the Ox

Blame it on celebrity chefs! That's why they say that oxtails have become so expensive. What used to be one of the least expensive meats has now been elevated to the level of haute cuisine. And yes, I guess if I hadn't heard Gordon Ramsey extolling the virtues of this lowly item I don't think it would ever have graced my table. So, blame it on the celebrity chefs.
The end result of my exploration into oxtails was Oxtail and Chorizo stew, an immensely flavorful bowl of oxtail, chorizo, onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, beef  broth and Mexican beer. This was definitely worth having again, so I researched other recipes.
Interestingly enough, the first one was from Paula Dean so we have a Southern stew. Following that was the realization that oxtails are found in cuisines around the world. There is Jamaican, Spanish, African, Asian, English and even Hawaiian. How could I have been so unaware of this culinary delight with it's worldwide following?
Not long ago there was an Anthony Bourdain show about offal. It seems there is a resurgence of interest in these meat parts that  would not generally be found on the average dinner table. Heads, brains, trotters, tripe...delicacies in many parts of the world. Somewhat strange to those of us who rely on packaged meats from the grocery store, but not at all to people who are used to dealing with real butchers who are accustomed to working with all the animals' parts, not just the fancy steaks and roasts.
And so, the lowly ox (read beef) tail...

1 pkg. oxtails
1/4 lb chorizo
1/2 red onion chopped coarsely
1/2 yellow onion chopped coarsely
1 c. celery tops chopped
3 carrots chopped
2 large potatoes cut in chunks
2 smashed garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1 can low sodium beef broth
1 bottle  Modelo

Heat a couple of swirls of olive oil in a heavy frying pan
(cast iron ). Season the oxtails with salt and pepper.
Brown the oxtails on all sides and then remove them from the pan.
In a separate pan, crumble and cook the chorizo. Take it out of the pan and drain well, Spread it out on a layer of paper towels to remove all the grease.
Add some olive oil to the frying pan, if necessary, and cook the onions, celery, carrots, potatoes and garlic. Cook only until the onions are translucent.
Place oxtails, chorizo and vegetables in a crockpot.
Add a bay leaf and a sprig of thyme or a couple of shakes of powdered thyme and garlic powder. An older lady taught me that whenever you are making soups, stews, etc. that use fresh garlic, you should also add garlic powder. Add beef broth and beer. You could use wine or more broth.
Cook on low for 8 hours.
Cool slightly so that you can handle the meat. Take all the meat off the bones and add back to the pot. Refrigerate the stew overnite. The next day, skim off all the fat. Remove the bay leaf.
You are now ready to reheat and eat.
Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle some chopped green onion on top and serve.
The flavor is intense! Even though there is a minimum of seasoning, there is a richness of the beef and chorizo
that is out of this world.
Have some good crusty bread to sop up all those juices and enjoy!


  1. You're right...it IS expensive!!! This is one cut of meat that I haven't tried yet due to it's cost. I do see them on mark-down every now and then, so I am going to just do it and buy them and make something out of them. Great post!

    1. Thank you! Thank you! We don't have Cosco close but they are supposed to have a good price on oxtails. I'm going to check the Asian market when we make a trip to Atlanta.

  2. Unfortunately, we don't have Costco or an Asian market nearby. The closest is in Portland. :P