As with the beans, so with the oxtail…
Who makes anything with oxtail these days? Wizened Italian grandmothers, that’s who. Am I aspiring to be a wizened Italian grandmother?
But again, there’s that yearning to live ‘close to the ground,’ if you know what I mean. If you can’t be in harmony with nature due to your society’s dependence on oil, then at least you can understand better how to be grateful for what you have. Enter the oxtail, sturdy, hearty, hard-to-get-at-unless-you-take-the-time protein.
Simply Recipes (such a great site, btw) put up this recipe for Glazed Oxtails a few weeks ago, coincidentally right after I had taken the leap at the farmers market to purchase some oxtail joints. Ding! That would be the universe calling.
It took a while, edging around other plans, but I finally made it this week, staying amazingly faithful to Elise’s recipe (for me), which included very helpful pictures at all steps along the way.
One of the ways I did depart from her recipe was volume: being a one-person household, I didn’t want to either buy or store the 4 pounds of meat, so I bought one vacuum-packed bundle, coming in at 1.3 lbs. I halved most of the other ingredients, which was fine (except then the boiling-off took forever…).
However, after a time, it too was done. But ya can’t just eat meat.
Then this eye candy from Vanessa Barrington showed up in my Twitter feed, and I had my idea: Glazed Oxtail meets Amazing Brown Rice Bowl. Done!
I went the easy way for the rice bowl part, already feeling virtuous from the multi-step, multi-hour process that the oxtail required. Brown rice from Trader Joe’s went into the micro, spring onions (from the farmers market- it IS spring!) got chopped into the pan with a dollop each of lemonaise and tahini. I added a swish of olive oil to coat, then half of the rice until warmed through, then half of the oxtail (which I had prewarmed to deliquify the gelatin).
In went the rest of the rice (for 3 cups total). I topped a serving for my dinner with the greens of the two spring onions and a splinkling of dashi for crunch and salt.
If you’re interested in the proportions, that was ~.75 lbs oxtail to begin, and 3 cups brown rice (for 2 servings, one dinner and one work lunch!). As you can see, it made for a dish that was suffused with good beef flavor and stock without being dominated by the protein itself. Just what I was aiming for at this point in my eating life.
Now if only I can do that for some of the other aims in my working life…