Much to be said about an Oxtail… A beautiful appendage mimicking what I recognize to be a linked chain; The Tail of a somewhat “praised” bovine has been used traditionally around the world for centuries. The tapered piece of flesh is known characteristically as a tough, fatty, gelatinous cut full of flavor and destined to be braised. For I, it is clear that a stew is in order.
“There is probably no person alive today, or any person that has perhaps ever existed, that appreciates a soup, as much as Me…” -Me
As a Trained Cook… I take to what I know.
The tail is segmented into 1-1 ½ in pieces cutting through the joints binding the extremity. I prepare for a Braise. Searing heat, burned flesh, roasted vegetables, a deglaze of red wine, herbs, spice and copious amounts of stock over low heat for hours. A dip of a fork reveals flesh peeling away from bone with ease. The tail is good to go.
As I taste the braising liquid, I become enamored; I am floored by the Robust, Rich, Fatty Flavor… I decide this is what I want my soup to taste like. I want the gelatinous, smooth, bold broth in my dish… instead of starting a soup with a stock or heaven forbid, water… I clarified the Braising liquid so as not to loose any of the notes that had developed over the last twelve hours. There are many ways to make a consommé out in the world… But call me “Old Fashioned.’
I built a raft and watched it sail away with all of the impurities. Flawless technique wins over probable experiment any way you slice the cookie. I know that 1 + 1 will always equal 2… no matter what! A challenge in the kitchen, is always how to utilize your ingredients to their full potential and present them in a way that seems new and exciting for a consumer.
The Rest of the dish seems to fall into season and take a shape of it’s own, Fried Parsnip, Roasted Butternut Squash, Celery heart, Toasted Barley, Braised Oxtail and a Spice Consomme.
People have had Oxtail & Barley Stew before… a lot of people, I am sure of it. The ingredients are cheap and the technique is “homemade.” but, it can be refined. Soup is my Comfort food, and a great soup is forever immortal.