There are certain recipes that are untouchable– this is definitely one of them. I grew up eating oxtails whenever my mom felt like spoiling me. It takes a lot of time and preparation to get them just right, so once I saw those packets emerge from the freezer, I knew not to hold my breath. COVID is interrupting a lot of family meals this year, but I had to swing by my mom’s to get some oxtails to-go.
I still don’t know her recipe, even after all these years, but I do know how to work backwards. So, I’m going to do some experimentation featuring my mom this time, and give you the tools to get started.
Oxtails need a lot of love, but they pay you back. You’re going to want to marinate these overnight with salt, pepper, fresh garlic, lemongrass, and some good curry powder. I’ve been using lemongrass in marinades a lot lately since you can get the citrus flavor without making it too acidic.
Once they’re ready, sear all the pieces, add diced onion and peppers, and braise in stock with bay leaves until tender. They should be falling off the bone when you’re done with them!
The challenge is mainly time, since this process takes a few hours. Once it’s done, though, I like to toss them under the broiler for a final crisp. Did you ever try to make Asùn? I mean, by now I’ve permanently broadened your palates, right? Well, I was going for a similar outcome here– it’s nice to get a little texture back right before serving.
Now, I’m not going to include the rice and peas in the steps below, so I’ll let you fill that part in for me. I usually use basmati, but this time I only had some unnamed short grain rice. Either way, it’s rice and beans! You’ve got this.
This will put you down for a nap, and I can’t wait for the weather to get cold again so that I can enjoy the food coma.
I didn’t have any pictures this week because we’re mid-move. Still working out the new set-up, but I hope to be back at 100% next week.
3 lb Oxtails
1 Onion, diced
1 Bell Pepper, diced
6 Cloves of Garlic, minced
4 Cups Beef or Chicken Stock
3 Cups Rice
1 Cup Pigeon Peas
1/4 Cup Parsley
1/4 Cup Cilantro
2 Bay Leaves
2 Tbs Curry Powder
1 Tbs Lemongrass, minced
1 Tsp Ginger, minced
1 Tsp Paprika
1 Tsp Chili Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste
- Season the oxtails with half of the spices, then transfer to the refrigerator and marinate overnight.
- Sear the oxtails on all sides, and cook on medium for roughly twenty minutes to render out the excess fat. Remove the oxtails, and discard excess oil.
- Return the pan to medium-high heat, and sauté onion, pepper, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger until soft. Add the oxtails bay leaves, remaining spices and herbs.
- Stir, then add enough stock to cover the oxtails. Bring to a low boil, and braise until tender (1-2 hours).
- Remove the oxtails, and let them cool. Reduce the remaining stew by half, and season to taste.
- Broil the oxtails for texture, then serve with the stew and rice.