Stews are perfect for those chilly autumn days. Not only are they hearty and warming, they are also really forgiving, easy to reheat, and great for family dinner. This week’s recipe makes use of a tender, gelatin-rich piece of meat: Oxtail.
This stew is super easy to customize according to taste. Feel free to change out any of the root vegetables for others. Along the same vein, you can also switch out the spices according to your preferences. You can use frozen or fresh oxtail – whichever is available at your local market. The amount of gelatin in this cut really thickens this stew – much like bone broth.
The gorgeous orange color of this stew comes from the beets and tomatoes. It perfectly matches the color of the autumn falls. Basically, it’s autumn in a bowl.
Fall is a great time for root vegetables to really shine – I picked up some beets and carrots from my local co-op. The sweetness of the beets and butternut squash pairs extremely well with the beef. This stew also keeps well throughout the week, if you are a smaller household. You can boost it up throughout the week by adding in whatever different kinds of vegetables you have on hand.
Oxtail Stew with Root Vegetables
Serving size: enough for 8-12
Prep: 45 min
Inactive time: 7 hours
around 4 pounds of oxtail (fresh or frozen)
3 medium sized beets, peeled and cubed
3 medium potatoes, cubed
1-2 medium tomatoes, cubed
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, cubed
3 cloves of garlic, diced
a bunch of torn leafy greens (could be beet greens, cabbage, chard, etc)
1 cup of diced/cubed mixed frozen/fresh vegetables (optional – think corn, beans, etc)
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 cans of chicken soup
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cinnamon
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 375.
Toss your butternut squash with olive oil, paprika, cinnamon and salt & pepper to taste. When the oven is preheated, lay out your butternut squash on a foil-lined tray and roast for 45 minutes.
While your butternut squash is roasting, heat up a large pot on medium high heat. Add in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot. When the pot is heated, toss in your diced onion. When your onion is beginning to brown and smell fragrant, add in your garlic, carrot, and mixed vegetables (optional). Stir occasionally until it all begins to brown.
Add in your tomatoes – the juice of which should deglaze the bottom of the pot. You should hear a sizzling sound – this is good as it adds flavor. Add in your potatoes, beets, and chicken soup. Add enough water to the pot so that your oxtail will be covered when you throw them in – this can be a rough estimate. Bring everything to a boil.
While your root vegetables are bringing up to a boil, carefully rinse off your oxtail. If preferred, you can even drop them in a separate pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes to cook off any impurities.
When your root vegetable base is boiling, lower the oxtail into your pot (being careful of any hot splashes!). If there is not enough water to cover all your oxtail, add more water.
Take out your butternut squash if you haven’t already from the oven. You can add these cubes in about an hour before you are planning to serve the soup.
Simmer covered until the oxtail meat begins to fall off the bone and is melt-in-your-mouth tender (about 6-7 hours). Check on it occasionally (add more water if the water is getting low, or add in another can of chicken soup if you want to boost up the flavor), stir it every two hours or so, but otherwise go about your day.
10 minutes before serving, add in your torn leafy greens. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Notes: Again, this is my particular combination of root vegetables for oxtail stew. In reality, all the ingredients here can be swapped out depending on your mood. The basis of this soup is onion and garlic heated in oil in a pot, a liquid (water and/or any kind of stock), oxtail cuts, and an assortment of vegetables.