Hello my foodies!
Sorry it’s been a while since there has been an actual recipe here. Things have been pretty nuts since the last post, with recovery, work, and loads of other things, but I am well and ready to rock!
The operation was near my tailbone, and so I thought that the next thing to check off the list of food posts should be oxtail (I’m only a cow sometimes). If you’ve never heard of oxtail before and are wondering what the hell I’m talking about, these are big, fat slices of a cow’s tail: A tough cut of meat (think of how often those muscles are swatting flies!) that will turn melty and soft and gelatinous if cooked for a long time at a low temperature, and makes very rich, flavourful broth, which is why it’s perfect for stews and curries.
The first time I made it was pretty much what I would call a disaster. My kitchen has a gas stove, so even the lowest flame setting keeps things at a boil, and at the time I thought that stewing it for an hour would be long enough to soften it up, but no, I was wrong. The result was a yummy soup with nasty, tough chunks of meat that were impossible to separate from the bone segments, yargh!!
I was pretty set on tackling this challenge again and kicking its ass (especially since the doctor said no kickboxing for a little bit), which is why the slow-cooker should be your weapon of choice if you’ve got one lying around. They’re $20, they make things so much easier, there’s no stirring business to deal with, and you can prep this before work and come home to dinner, like I did. You can use a stove (and figure it out yourself), but it’s a good idea to stick around the house if that’s your plan of action.
In either case, now that it’s almost December and the weather is dark, wet and cold (unless you live in Hawaii), this is a perfect dish. Carrots, onions, and sweet potatoes add sweetness to the stew/curry (I’m calling it both), coconut milk thickens the broth, and the right spices add a warm aroma to match your nice, warm kitchen. Open the door, throw the coat on a chair, and dig in! Lovely.
Oxtail Curry Serves 4, or fewer people who want more!
4 pieces of oxtail
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 head of garlic, peeled (or less, if you’re not me)
2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 small sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 400mL can of coconut milk
5 cups of hot water
1/2 teaspoon of each of the following: Dried chili flakes, ground cinnamon, turmeric, and ground cumin
3 star anise “fruits” (the dried, pointy star things)
Oil for browning
Notes: Aside from coming home and freaking out, this was hassle-free, so the only thing I would change about the recipe is to adjust the water level, which is accounted for above. If you can fit in a little more than 5 cups of water, go for it. I did consider using the LOW setting on the cooker instead, but decided against it because you want to be able to cook the meat safely. I generally use the LOW setting for keeping stuff warm after it’s already done. Okay, scratch that. Other than increasing water, I would also have shut my kitchen door so my entire place and all my clothes didn’t smell like food for a day.
Eat well! And stay cozy!