Thursday, 22 May 2014

Cheap thrills: Oxtail stew

This rich, delicious, definitely not low fat, dish was worth all the time it took to cook, the hours smelling the spices, the rich meat and bone marrow, and... oh let's just say it was yummy and hearty and very, very satisfying. Here's the link to original recipe, because it's not mine.

One lazy Sunday afternoon, a week after this, after waking up from a nap (I like naps, had you noticed?), I started cooking about 0.66 kg of oxtail with probably 0.3 kg beef mince as per the recipe, with a few chances... As I had half amount of meat, I used half of everything else, but without the wine, using vegetarian stock cubes and a few carrots, powdered cinnamon, and fennel seeds instead of star anise. It took a long time to cook, so we didn't have it for dinner that night. But the house smelt great.

Instead, after straining the stock, mashing the onion through the sieve and retaining the carrot, and removing the meat from the bones, the stock, onion, carrots, and meat was combined and stored overnight in the fridge. The sight that greeted me the next morning was lovely: the fat had risen to the top of the container, creating a lovely thick layer over everything else, just like I remember my Mum getting, when she did similar things. Oh the fat was easy to remove! (And save...) Oh and the marrowbone jelly that was under it... wibble-wobble...

But all that jelly had to be reduced... but I didn't do it all at once, oh no. Just about 1/4 of what I'd made when into the first real tasting, another 1/4 went into the freezer for much later, 1/4 went with Michael for lunch the next day (no extra attention), and the final 1/4 went into the fridge for later in the week. It took a while for that jelly to reduce. I can't remember how long for that first night, but the second time it seemed to take forever...

Once the sauce was reduced I sifted a generous teaspoon of cocoa over the stew, instead of the chocolate, and mixed well. When it looked right, and my stomach couldn't handle it any longer, I served it with... I honestly can't remember. I'm sure peas were involved. Perhaps some other greens too... But it was sprinkled with parsley and devoured by all three of us.

Oh it was good... So good in fact, that later that week when I used what was in the fridge, I also used the 1/4 of stew that was in the freezer... Admittedly, as I was a little unwell, my eyes may have been bigger than our stomachs... And I may not have let it reduce long enough, but I did remember to take photos of the stew as it was served, this time with mashed potato, with onion, fennel root, and broccoli stems. We still ate it. All of it. And yes, Jimmy approved.

Jimmy's serve...
... mostly made it into his belly.

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