Friday, October 19, 2007

Oxtail Soup, an excellent piece of tail!

Oxtail Soup

It is cool enough here that the fall dishes are well under way.  So
tonight come with me as we explore the wonderful dish that can be OXTAIL! 
That is right, natures fly swatter, the tail end of the bovine, god gave the
animal a buttt cover and when cooked correctly it is a fantastic dish!  And
for you budget minded, oxtail is damn near free compared to other parts of the
bovine.  First a look at the hanging meat that made this oxtail.  My
son raises them, and once they have the dress whites on they are hard to beat
when their body parts hit the heat!

I love looking at our beef hanging in the locker.  Fully inspected, the
shop we use is one of the few that will let me dry age for the length of time I
want to with my own stuff.  The stuff my son sells commercial has a few
modified rules.  And you can see that wonderful oxtail hanging there. 
That is what we are exploring tonight.

Grab oxtail out of the freezer, or next trip to the market purchase some
oxtail, it is cheap.  I let mine slack overnight in the reefer.

While the oxtail is coming up to room temperature, prepare whatever it is you
like for a base with your oxtail.  I am going to do a modified braise in a
nice syrah from Two Rivers Winery
so that means new celery and some Mayan Sweet onions.  If it were February
or March I would use Maui Sweets, but this time of the year it is Mayans. 
I like a nice dice on the background vegetables.

I have also tossed in a little thyme and a hint of cracked fennel.  Plus
salt and pepper.  At this point the oxtail are ready to hit the saut√© pan
and get to browning up.  I like to see them seared on all sides just in the
base ingredients, then I will add in the rest of my recipe flavors.

While the oxtail is browning I chopped and dice the garden vegetables I will
be using to accompany the dish.  I had a great crop of Italian green beans
this year as well as excellent carrots.  I did not grow corn this year, but
canned a lot of Olathe sweet when it came in to season.  I can my corn
southwest style.  I lump that into my crock pot that will handle the
cooking while I am gone to work.

While they are resting, I finish my braise preparation,  adding in a
couple cups or so of the Syrah as well as some basil thyme tomatoes I put up. 
This will then braise in the saute for almost two hours while I feed horses and
get ready for work.

After the time in the oven braising I add it to the crock pot on top the
garden vegetables.  And when I get home it will have cooked it then moved
automatically to 142 F hold.  Bake off a French loaf and plate it up. 
Nice now that the weather is cooler.

Enjoy this with a nice deep red wine.  I did a long grain brown rice in
the steamer for the starch.

'Til we talk again, find something the butcher can not sell and make it into
a great dish.  You will eat better and cheaper if you are willing to get
outside the comfort zone and experiment a little with meat cuts.

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

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