Oxtail sans Tail

In food on 05/02/2009 at 7:58 am

Time to dip into the way back machine and pull out a recipe from a former co-worker from Zimbabwe. One of the first things I sought out when I moved to NYC was oxtail. Don’t know how I knew about it back then, but as luck would have it, when I worked at a certain giant chain electronics store downtown, the manager was all about hitting up Golden Krust for lunch.

She’d send me to fetch her mighty Krust for the curry goat or beef patties, and I’d get a heaping pile o’ oxtail stew on rice in a small styrofoam container. Then I tried making it one time and discovered, man, oxtail is freaking expensive, even in Harlem! Funny how these peasant or slave dish ingredients are now considered gourmet with gourmand price tags. Darn the foodies of the world.

There used to be a Jamaican joint I’d go to on 119th St. and Lenox Ave. It’s gone through several iterations but they had some fine ‘tail. Last week, I was surprised to see it had moved to 125th St. in the location of another place that used to be Jamaican. It’s next to the White Castle. If you had your choice, would you go for nasty square burglets or homemade Caribbean cuisine? I think I’ll pop in next week sometime to Under D Tree for some nice grub.

One time I had a potluck party and my Zimbabwen friend was supposed to make the real thing, but her in-laws showed up so she emailed me her recipe instead. Today, I was craving some and it dawned on me that any cut of beef would work for this. It is just a stew after all. Maybe the sauce wouldn’t gell up as much as if the stew were percolating with all that fine cartilage from the tail, but hey my wallet would be much happier. All you would hafta do would be sprinkle some flour in to thicken it up. My boy Tyler Florence does that for his ultimate Texas chili con carne. He said that’s the secret ingredient to get it looking and tasting unctuous.

Oxtail (or any cut of *cheap* beef, in chunks)
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (any color)
1 can tomato sauce (ketchup, ok)
splash soy sauce
splash vinegar
hot pepper sauce (nothing beats Louisiana)
1 or 2 bouillion cubes (punch up that beefy flavor)
Old Bay seasoning
salt & pepper

Brown meat in hot oil in dutch oven or pot. Add all other ingredients. Cover with water up just to cover the meat. Simmer 2 hours till meat surrenders.

Serve with rice, sadza or kenke.

don't need no tail in my pail

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