Monday, January 07, 2013

Nebraska Flyswatter-Oxtail Stew

You know, 'caus cattle swat at flies with their tails...right, so I made Mr. ETB some oxtails that he bought from the dramatically reduced freezer chest at the Wahoo Super. Yes, I occasionally shop at a place called the Wahoo Super.

I was..hesitant? Truth be told, they appeared to have been in residence over in that freezer chest for some time, and had I been shopping alone, I'd have probably passed said freezer chest by without a second look. I wasn't shopping alone. I wouldn't have bought the past-their-date potato chips either, but we all have different levels of self loathing.

I did not eat the Nebraska Flyswatter for dinner (being vegetarian, and all) but Mr. ETB enjoyed it. If you see a big guy with a ponytail, wearing braces, and lurking around the freezer chest at the Wahoo Super, it is probably Mr. ETB looking for another bargain package of oxtails. I'll post the recipe in case he finds more, and wants me to reproduce the magic.

You Will Need:

A couple generous knobs of beef suet
2-3 large oxtails(about 1 1/2 pounds)
Flour
Salt/Pepper
3 1/4 cups water
2 cups water
1 cup tomato sauce
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 bay leaves
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
1 large onion, quartered
Carrots, potatoes, parsnip, etc. diced
Flour (about 1/4 cup)

Melt the suet in a heavy Dutch oven over medium high heat. Dredge the oxtails in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown oxtails in hot suet.

Add 3 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook covered for about 2 hours. You'll want to check it frequently to be certain it isn't boiling. After the initial cooking, mix together the water, tomato sauce, and mustard. Add to the pot. Add the bay leaves, and garlic. Cover and cook 1 hour longer. Remove oxtails to a platter and let cool. Meanwhile, add the vegetables, and cover again. Simmer while the oxtails are cooling. When the oxtails are cool enough to handle, remove the meat. In an ideal world, you could just push them through with your fingers. In my world, you'll need to trim some gristle and fat. When you have removed the meat (you'll be surprised how much you can get from a few oxtails) return it to the pot. Simmer until the vegetables are just becoming tender. Strain, reserving liquid. Return liquid to pan, and whisk in flour, starting with about 4 tablespoons. Turn up the heat, and whisk until it begins to thicken (you may need more flour). You want a thin gravy, as it tends to thicken as it sits, reheats, etc. Don't cook it until you have the texture of custard. Add the meat and vegetables back to the pan, and cook until re-warmed through over very low heat-about 15 minutes.

After the leftovers cool, you can remove whatever fat rises to the top of the liquid. You may hear objections, but trust me on this one-the fat has already done what it was there to do. Feeds about four, or one greedy Scotsman over a couple days.

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